How Ad Blocking Software is Destroying The Global Economy

By: Daniel Imbellino
April 7, 2016

As world economies continue to struggle with an extremely vulnerable economic landscape, a threat of epic proportionsA picture of a white computer keyboard with a finger pressing a blue Ad block button continues to lurk in the background, almost entirely ignored. What is this threat you ask? It's ad blocking software, and it threatens the current and future state of the whole global economy, including the entire internet itself that now sits on life support because of it. Much of this is due in part to ignorant internet users who've failed to realize that every time they block another ad, they're causing more international companies to go broke, and their employees to subsequently lose their jobs, as well as depleting future generations access to quality and useful information on the free and open web. How? It's very simple, just as our natural world relies on a delicate eco-system that if put out of balance affects us all, the same goes for global economies as well.

The Economic Implications of Ad Blockers:

When one portion of the world's economies falls out of balance, we all pay the price, and in the case of the internet, virtually every industry in the world relies on it in order to function. From fast food restaurants, to banks, and even retailers, without advertising, our economies cannot and will not continue to function. The unfortunate truth is that, all businesses are at the mercy of a now digital world, and virtually every company in existence relies on advertising through every digital means possible in order to produce an ROI, pay their employees, and ultimately thrive in an increasingly competitive business environment.

Advertising itself also makes up a humongous portion of a given industrialized nation's gross domestic product. For instance, every year American companies dish out billions to market their latest products and services, and those they employ rely on these companies to produce a profit, otherwise they no longer have a job.

It really doesn't matter what industry you work in either, as all of us are affected by the negative effects ad blocking programs bring. You could work in construction, yet lose your job because the millions that once worked in the media industry no longer can afford to buy a new home, because they lost their jobs, no thanks to ad blockers. Either way, no one is immune to this problem.

Publishers across the web are also feeling the heat. AOL purchased the gaming news organization Joystiq for $2.6 million dollars only to shut it down just a few years later, no thanks to ad blocking software, and companies who're squeezed out from lost sales, and who aren't willing to bid the prices for advertising they once did. Remember Al Jazeera? Yeah, they ditched the American media market place altogether recently, citing difficulties in finding advertisers, and being faced with the challenging economic climate the U.S. brings.

As global companies continue to lose revenue, their marketing budgets will continue to shrink, and more of us will continue to lose our jobs.

Don't be fooled by the U.S. government's ridiculous unemployment data either, which currently shows the U.S. unemployment rate at a falling 4.9%, it's all a lie. What the government doesn't tell you is that, once your unemployment runs out, you're no longer counted for in the unemployment data at all. The government has created the illusion of a 4.9% rate, when in fact it's likely more closer to 18% or 20% of our total working age workforce, if not higher. Don't believe me, check out this article RT: American Jobs Labor Report, published in March of last year, which actually states 33% of Americans are not currently in the workforce at all, and to make matters worse not much has changed since then. Again, once your unemployment runs out, you no longer count in the government's figures. Barely half of our total population is currently employed, and with a population of over 320 million Americans, that's a lot of people who aren't getting up in the morning to head to work.

Oh, and as for all the jobs we have created over the last few years, most of them are part time, low wage, junk jobs that no American could possibly live on. This is why we need to put the brakes on ad blocking software, because media growth creates jobs!

Fighting Back:

While it's no secret that publishers across the web are going broke, and millions are losing their jobs, so far very little has been done by publishers themselves to combat the fast growing problem of invasive ad blocking software. While publishers could rally for more awareness to internet users concerning the implications of ad blocking programs, the fact is, consumers don't care, and the efforts that have been made so far have proven to be useless. I wholeheartedly believe that educating users will not be enough, and publishers are going to have to get tougher with the internet's audiences in order to survive.

To make matters worse, while the FTC continues to fight to preserve net neutrality, they've simply turned a blind eye to the fact that those ad blocking programs that people love so much are extorting money from the publishers themselves. Eyeo, the makers of Ad Block Plus, insist publishers must pay them to allow certain types of ads to be shown. Why on earth should publishers be forced to pay others to access their own property? Meanwhile, our government continues to pretend the problem doesn't exist, despite the probability of severe economic implications, and the fact tens of billions of dollars of revenue are being lost each year to ad blockers.

On the other hand, some publishers, while not many, have been actively seeking ways to save themselves from the inevitable demise of ad blockers, including Forbes, who's been testing ways to block users of these programs entirely. At present, there are publicly shared programs that are free and can in fact block programs like Ad Block Plus entirely, and just maybe it will take the world of web publishing to block users across the web for them to get the point of its unending turmoil and the wide-spread damage it causes.

Meanwhile, more threats of ad blocking appear to be coming from those entities in the technology industry themselves, including Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung, who're now on a parade of allowing ad blocking apps to rain free on their mobile devices and across browsers. Even Google has allowed ad blocking programs to continue to flourish on its app store, despite the fact that the majority of the tech giant's revenue comes from advertising. To add insult to injury, Microsoft now wants to incorporate ad blocking features directly into its Edge browser, so they too can line their pockets with gold, all the while causing more and more publishers to disappear, and your access to the information they once served to vanish altogether. This article from ZDNet: Microsoft To Implement Ad Blocking Capabilities into Edge Browser, shows a clear snapshot of Microsoft's proposed plans to block ads.

Samsung would like us all to believe that ads slow down the loading of web pages, so ad blockers can speed up the web and improve the user experience. That's a lie created by tech companies to mask an even larger problem, which I'm about to explain.

What Samsung and Apple won't tell you is that the devices they create are more to blame than ads. We need more powerful mobile devices is the real problem. Why is it that desktops and laptops can load most pages so fast, yet our mobile phones and tablet based browsers take so long to load? If Samsung and Apple want to speed up the mobile web, then maybe they should make a better effort to produce faster mobile devices and start producing quality tablets and phones that can process data quickly.

Google's push for sites to start publishing content using AMP is a clear example of how tech giant's are ignoring a much bigger problem, the devices we use to access the mobile internet aren't capable of running at the speeds mobile users want. It's that simple. I wrote another article that talks more about AMP, and why it's a lame excuse for speeding up websites on mobile devices: How Tech Giant's have taken innovation in technology too far!

The Ever Shrinking Web:

So, we all love to play games, read the news, and share stories with our friends on social media, yet the average internet user hasn't a clue that all those things they love about the web are made available thru the use of advertising dollars. I personally love Google Plus myself, it's my favorite of all networks, yet without advertising dollars it would not have ever existed, and it's advertising revenue solely that the network relies on in order to function at all.

To make matters worse, because of ad blockers, the web is now being hammered with useless information in the form of junk articles with no purpose other than for publishers to try and make up for lost revenue as a result of their use. In fact, because of ad blockers many publishers have resulted to mass loading their sites with so many ads they literally lock up your browser, and often pop-up right in the middle of reading an article, causing readers to lose track of where they were.

They also cause problems for those who make use of them. you wouldn't believe all the whiny users we've had message us complaining they can't access an online game we host because their ad blocking software disables them. Who's fault is that? It's their stupid ad blockers that are blocking those games, not us! Also, many sites use pop-ups to access login features, and ad blockers will typically block them as well.

As for Microsoft's recent proposals, if they manage to follow through with them, I will block their ad blocking features as a whole from accessing my sites as long as they are enabled, and I will urge others to do the same. I refuse to stand idle while Microsoft attempts to rob myself and others in order to enrich themselves. Whether internet users like it or not, web publishers have a right to decide what is displayed on their websites, as it's their property, and those who don't like it will soon find themselves locked out of the informational web as we know it. In coming weeks virtually every page of this site will block ad blockers altogether. Why should we work to serve others who don't appreciate what we give them for free?

All being said, if we want to preserve a web that's fun, useful, and has a real purpose for our future generations, then we have to get a handle on the ad blocking nightmare that engulfs it today. We also need to protect the world's hard working industrialized nations and their corresponding workforces from the never ending threat of job losses that ad blockers bring. While ad blocking software is only one economic concern out of many, it's a problem that seriously needs to be dealt with by publishers themselves, as the consequences affect us all.

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