Et Tu, Rafe Colburn?

Rafe Colburn has an interesting confession regarding the Web nerd cage match we're having over Google Toolbar and other content-manipulation tools:

I have a Firefox extension installed called Adblock. All it does is prevent the browser from downloading resources containing the patterns that I specify. I installed it for one reason, to keep my browser from downloading any content from BlogAds.

I make money with BlogAds on two sites, so I could write an impassioned essay about how Colburn is robbing me of a chance to put food on my family. The loss isn't theoretical, unlike Google Toolbar as presently implemented, which I could easily circumvent on book ISBNs.

Although I don't use blockers myself, I've always regarded them as part of the cost of doing business on the Web. People who are strongly motivated to avoid your ads aren't likely to click, so the lack of their eyeballs may be a net good.


Although I don't use blockers myself, I've always regarded them as part of the cost of doing business on the Web.

Funny. I look at it as an issue of free speech -- Adblock's users (like Rael) are effectively saying "I find these ads intrusive and don't want to see them." From your point of view (which, I think, seems myopic in the context of free speech), things like Adblock are one of the "prices" of free speech; from "our" perspective, of course, they're one of the advantages.

As you implied, it is reasonable to assume that the users who install Adblock are less likely to click on advertisements than the average user. Thus, removing them from the pool of users creating (or would the term be "using"?) impressions will have a net-positive effect, as it'll raise the average number of clicks per impression on your site. This, in turn, makes the site more attractive to those actually serving the ads.

btw an excellent Bushism there. :)

I do feel guilty about running an ad blocker since I generally feel obliged to view the ads on a site if I view the content, at least if they're on the same page as the content.

What I really feel guilty about is that the guy who runs BlogAds was at the Triangle Bloggercon and I didn't avail myself of the opportunity to tell him that his service sucks from a user's perspective.

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