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How ad-blocking software is bad news for business and consumer

Posting in Design

The days of websites with one column of adverts is long gone -- but with the emergence of ad-blocking software, what does the future hold for business and Internet user?

Adverts, whether plastered on billboards, interrupting television shows or howling for our attention online can be a continual source of irritation. As a result, companies are cashing in by developing solutions designed to block these eyesores while we browse websites.

Browser extension AdBlock, for example, recently launched an interesting crowdfunding campaign -- requesting donations in order to launch its own website and billboard-based campaign advertising the company's wares and promoting awareness of the extension.

At the time of writing, AdBlock has raised $55,794, far surpassing its original target of $25,000 which indicates how consumers feel about the constant advertising assault online.

A recent report (.pdf) from PageFair documents that the average adblocking rate for company websites is 25 percent, based on data from 220 clients. In terms of revenue, this can cost a typical business almost $500,000 a year. Depending on how invasive advertising methods are, adblocking rates varied between 1.5 percent to 65 percent.

The company concluded from this sample that the average rate of ad blocking is growing by over 40 percent each year. Unsurprisingly, those visiting more tech-based websites are the most likely to use adblocking extensions.

But does adblocking software do more harm than good in the long run?

Websites often rely on ad-impressions to keep online services going. Therefore, when consumers choose to block advertising, these companies lose revenue. While we as users may not care about this, businesses do -- and may go to extreme lengths to make us take notice of advertising campaigns.

For the user, this could mean trading less intrusive advertising methods for garish, bouncing, audio and auto-playing adverts which are far more annoying than column-based variations. Some websites already make you watch an advert for a fixed length of time before revealing content.

As online advertising revenue rates decline and marketers look for more invasive ways to make us pay attention, we've yet to see how businesses will respond. Companies are losing out, but the concentration of adverts and how they are embedded within content is simply fueling the ad-blocking industry.

Via: Quartz

Image credit: AdBlock

— By on September 4, 2013, 2:24 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure