By Harry McCracken | Friday, August 7, 2009 at 9:43 am
[UPDATE: There’s a great conversation spurred by this post going on over at Louis Gray’s FriendFeed.]
Windows IT Pro’s Orin Thomas has a piece up with the title In five years will block Internet advertisements by default. He isn’t quite that extreme in the story itself, but he does say that he thinks the popularity of the Firefox add-in Adblock Plus will inevitably lead to most users blocking ads.
Putting aside for the moment the question of what that would do to the Web economy (including, er, ad-subsidized sites like Technologizer), I don’t think Thomas’s scenario will happen in the sweeping form he describes. For one thing, ad blockers have been around for a long time, and if their inevitable domination of the Web is in progress, it’s happening really slowly. For another, every major purveyor of Web browsers except Opera is either a major advertiser or a major seller of ads, or both–even Mozilla makes millions from the Google ads its default home-page search displays. (I’d be very surprised but not utterly disbelieving if Google were to build ad-blocking into Chrome–but if it turns it on by default, I’ll eat my MacBook.)
Of course, as with everything on the Web, it’s ultimately consumers who call the shots–if enough folks use ad-blockers, the Web will have to adjust, one way or another. (I continue, incidentally, to have no problem whatsoever with the fact that a meaningful minority of Technologizer readers block ads–I don’t need everybody to see the ads as long as a critical mass of folks do.)
What say you?