What’s the Price of a Free Internet?

Our everyday activities are littered with ads of all types: in physical spaces such as bus stops, billboards lining the highways, and pages of publications. Online ads are no exception and appear on our favorite websites in terrific numbers. Furthermore worrisome, however, is that online advertisements are not only an annoying interruption to our surfing experience, they can sometimes be misleading and even malicious.

Have you noticed that the distance on sites you visit is becoming increasingly crowded with advertisements? It appears, occasionally, that site designers and designers have gotten carried away and has caused a sharp uptick in the amount of ad-blocking possibilities, which amount in (at least) the hundreds. Analytics firm PageFair estimates that 615 million apparatus blocked web advertisements in 2016, and another company recently estimated that a quarter of Internet users were using blocking software in some manner. Not surprising, when you think about the internet user’s experience: surfing can slow significantly, and even clicking on an advertisement that may interest you might be damaging to your device’s security.

Advertisers are worried — and rightly so. Even though a free and accessible internet is essential, creating a reasonable playground is paramount for success and security for each side. Publishers get paid for serving you advertisements, and if you are blocking them, you are not seeing them. Some ad blocking software founders make it possible for advertisements to that meet specific criteria, but others charge a fee to the advertising entries to have advertisements “whitelisted.”

Here are a few “ground rules” we believe can lead to a healthy online ecosystem for everybody.

Read also: Do Macs Really Need Antivirus?

Running a Website Can Be Costly

Not all site owners are serving you ads for completely profit-making functions despite what you might think. Based on the kind of site, ad revenues may be paying for the operations of the website and to keep the site free.

By way of instance, online news sites may be using ad revenues so as to pay its authors, or a gaming website may use the money made to cover bandwidth for gamers. This content may otherwise be inaccessible if you don’t pay for some form of fee without advertisement support.

Some sites go so far as blocking your access. Financial publication Forbes is 1 site that blocks traffic from viewing its content using an advertisement blocker activated. Oftentimes though, most websites will only show a limited quantity of ads, so turning your adblocker off isn’t too much of an inconvenience. It is just one click away with our ad block; just turn the Power button to whitelist a site (and no — we do not monetize from whitelists, which means that you always have control over who is on it).

Advertisers Are Making Their Ads More Relevant

Only a few short years back, advertisers used a less targeted approach in serving you advertisements. This meant you watched many advertisements for things you probably were not all that interested. Nowadays, you will see advertisements for things you are far more inclined to purchase thanks to better ad serving technologies. Since advertisers have an assortment of websites that their advertisements are served, your internet usage patterns can be examined and better ads served to you.

With more relevant ads and a greater chance you will click, sites need less of these. 30 percent of those using adblocking software block ads since there’s either too many or it is slowing down the page, so targeted advertisements help in both respects.

Security Concerns Still At Large

30 percent cite malware and virus issues as their motivation for blocking ads, while another six percent state privacy concerns are why they use an ad blocker. When there are risks, there are easy ways to protect yourself, like through goods from ICSE.

With advertising block and antivirus Total, you receive the advantage of ICSE Cloud Services (ICS) which continuously monitors URLs for anything malicious and blocks you from getting anything suspicious before you may get infected.

You’d End Up Paying For It (A Lot)

When advertising was completely barred from the Internet, it would increase the price of Internet access. A 2014 survey of UK Internet users theorized that it would cost an additional £140 annual (about $175 USD) per year for access to internet content.

With US Internet access costs in several instances already $50 or more dollars a month, the majority of us would balk at paying any more. Ads play a large part in keeping content-free, so it is far better to work on ways where ads are less intrusive and more relevant rather than attempting to eliminate them altogether.

It’s All About Balance

While we have listed here why using some online advertising is a necessary evil, we wholeheartedly agree that advertisers and site owners also have to be accountable. Popups are annoying, and we should not have to click or scroll page after page just so that we could be served with more advertisements.

We also find the need to generate advertising more targeted to provide advertisers more return on investment, but at the exact same time, we should not have to worry about our personal information being pillaged. Recent concessions in the industry on eliminating unethical monitoring efforts are a fantastic first step, but we have a right to expect this to continue. Those sites that don’t run the risk of driving users away.

While we do hope to one day see an online landscape which does not require ad blocking, that day appears to be a way off. Meanwhile, our ad block is a neutral solution, enabling you to readily support sites which are on the right track (serving quality advertisements), while remaining clutter-free on websites that don’t “get it” just yet. With the additional feature of cloud-based protection, you are always safe whether you are allowing advertisements or blocking them.

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