For better or worse, a big chunk of the Web economy is built on a foundation of free supported by advertising. It’s the reason why so much great content is available, and why so many new and cool online services have been launched, creating a bountiful buffet for people looking to do just about anything.
Whether this economic model is sustainable remains to be seen. It depends, in many ways, on whether enough advertising will move to the Web to support free. There’s no lack of optimism about the growth of online advertising, which climbed 34% to $16.8-billion last year.
Looming on the horizon, however, is an evil predator. Adblock Plus – a Firefox plug-in that makes online advertising disappear in a Web browser. According to the New York Times, there are more than 2.5 million Adblock users around the world.
While Adblock has yet to become wildly popular, it and other ad-blockers should terrify companies that rely on advertising, and advertisers looking to reach consumers on the Web. Without advertising, many companies obviously have no viable business models given people have shown little interest in actually paying to use an online service even if it’s terrific and useful.
Anyone using Adblock wants to eat their cake (access free content and services) and have it too (no advertising). Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t gorge yourself at the Web buffet without paying for it in some way such as seeing advertising.
Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. Any anyone using Adblock is a fool because they clearly are missing the big economic picture. If you believe in Web 2.0 and/or if you believe in the concept of free, Adblock is pure evil.
- HipMojo, which succinctly summarizes that users who want more and better content without paying for it is a “dangerous and unreasonable position”
- Nick Carr, who calls Adblock the “nuclear plug-in”