Are Ad Blockers Killing Publishers?

Most people do not enjoy seeing ads on websites. Not only are they annoying, but having too many ads can burn through your internet’s or mobile carrier’s data plan. Not to mention they can be resource-extensive which can take a toll on your browser causing it to freeze a bit. But despite this, advertisements are what keeps most websites running and for most site owners, ad revenue is their main source of income.

It may be hypocritical for me to say that even though I always use an ad blocker, I also love ads. Well, to be completely honest, I’m only fine with the ads that appear on my sites. For the past 2 years of writing, they have been quite instrumental to keep everything running. The ad revenue that I get from my blogs covers up most of my hosting server costs, domain renewals, and other premium services that I subscribe to that my websites need.

In other words, advertisements pay the bills.

What is an ad blocker?

Ad blockers are software that hides or kills advertisements on a website. They work by looking into the page’s source code for any traces of ads and when it finds something, the ad blocker will tell the browser to stop that from loading. So on a user’s end, the website will still look the same, just minus the ads.

When a website cannot show ads, the site owner will not earn any revenue. It’s as simple as that. That’s why companies and bloggers have been trying different ways to get around that. There are those who will block access to their site with a popup message telling you to disable your ad blocker or at least, whitelist the site. It has also been reported that some companies pay the developers of ad blockers to unblock them, with certain conditions.

Business Insider’s Ad-blocker Popup

There are also some who, like me, replace the blocked ad with a message reminding users how the ads pay for our server bills and such. I also provide an option to donate if they’re really adamant to continue browsing with the ad blocker turned on. Any amount of money helps us publishers.

Should you rid yourself of ad blockers completely?

Of course not. There are some cases where ad blockers can come in useful. For example, ad blockers are known to remove ads in YouTube videos. Some of these YouTubers abuse their audience by flooding their videos with tons of ads which disrupts the viewing experience. Keep in mind that some of these YouTube channels simply download and recompile videos from other channels.

There are so many compilation videos right now where only a fraction of them credits or has permission from the original uploader. To have the audacity to squeeze in 20 ad-rolls in a 15-minute video is just unbelievable.

Another scenario where I would agree on turning on the ad blocker are sites that are infested with too many ads. There is nothing more annoying on the web than having ads pop up every time you click on something or even when you’re just scrolling down the page. Another annoyance is video ads that play out of nowhere. Who enjoys reading the news with a commercial suddenly playing on the background? These are the type of ads that I’m okay with blocking as they affect the user’s experience.


So are ad blockers really killing publishers? When it comes to ad revenue being their only source of income, yes certainly, ad blockers are detrimental to publishers who pay for costs to keep everything up. That’s why a lot of people would advise trying different ways of making money online. There’s affiliate marketing and digital downloads too, you know. You can also earn money through sponsored posts where companies or individuals would pay to have their articles on your site. Or even just having sponsors can get you some extra cash.

Even though publishers and advertisers despise ad blockers, the reality of the matter is that they are here to stay. As long as there is a market for showing advertisements, there is also a market for blocking them.

Elmer Balbin

Web developer from Bacolod, Steam Sale hunter, and casual DotA 2 player.

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