When Eyeo GmbH started blocking ads with its well-known ad-blocker AdBlock Plus, I was all for it. I never cared much for websites with overly intrusive advertising, so I was glad to get rid of all those annoying flash ads. Sites would load fast again, what a blessing?
Here’s the real story about this ad-blocking monopoly, their monopolistic business practices, how they block even conforming, subtle ads and how you are hurting yourself by using ad-blockers.
Why You Should Stop Using AdBlock Plus: How Eyeo GmbH Is Destroying The #FreeWeb
AdBlock plus is not a blessing. Far from it. What most people don’t realize, they block just about anything by default. It has already killed tens of thousands online businesses and small websites, possibly websites that you had visited for a long time in the past – it threatens the entire blogosphere that I personally wouldn’t want to miss. Why should you care? Well, if this trend continues the free and open internet will be fully commercialized by 2020, meaning any content will be behind so called paywalls by then. Imagine waking up one day and you’d have to pay a $20 monthly subscription fee to read your favorite blog or outlet? Would you pay it? Want to know how to fix your iPhone? Pay 20 bucks. Want to know how to fix your car? 20 bucks please. Want to know how to fix your computer? 20 bucks please. Want to learn a new language? 20 bucks please. You get the idea.
Eyeo GmbH is not only killing businesses, it’s killing democracy and free speech to some extent. Those small political blogs that are so crucial to political opposition are also all financed by advertising. It’s what keeps minorities in the loop. Without advertising minorities will have less funding for their websites. Major content-hubs will completely disappear behind paywalls in just a few years. Not only that but content will be commercialized to the fullest extent by large content monopolies that will charge YOU hefty fees.
Wait, AdBlock Plus Offers A Whitelist, What About That?
Yes, but unfortunately that is not an option for most websites even those that use regular, non-intrusive ads. They have rigged the system so publishers have to pay for that “service”. AdBlock Plus is forcing site owners to pay several thousands to be put on the whitelist – this is completely unacceptable. They have a monopoly on adblocking and can do whatever they want and they are already starting to abuse their monopoly. They used very questionable techniques trying to acquire a competing company “Appsolut Secure GmbH” and its popular AdBlock Browser so they can charge even more for putting websites on their whitelist. They used questionable business practices trying to trick the owner Benjamin Löwe into a contract that would not adequately compensate him. This shows that they have a clear intent to capitalize on their monopoly and possibly abuse it – very aggressively.
Fine, I Get It, But I Really Hate Flash Ads, What Should I Do Now?
Many people who realize how they are hurting the free internet (and themselves) by using Adblockers have started replacing AdBlocker Plus with a simple flash blocker extension.
Flash blocking extensions exist for all major browsers. Chrome extension
Monetization vs. User Experience
Unless you are visiting some really shady websites, most webmasters actually try to reduce ads on their websites, not increase them. Unfortunately they are often forced to increase them due to popular use of adblockers. This trend will accelerate unless we can force Eyeo to change its business practices.
As a publisher you start caring about your audience, but at the same time you have to finance your business, so advertising is something media companies rely upon in order to publish free content.
You wouldn’t believe how much even the tiniest website spends these days on hosting and delivery networks. It’s a big number and the costs are going up. We’re no longer living in 2010 where sites could take 4 to 9 seconds to load. Sites have to be rendered immediately or the user is gone in most cases and will never come back.
Without the income acquired through advertising publishers including myself will have to start charging you for content just to survive – and it won’t be cheap. Right now you get it all for free, but that’s because you are paying us with your eyeballs. If that is no longer the case, the free internet will die out. I love the internet. I love the fact that I can go online, search how I can become better at just about anything and get free information in a matter of seconds. This will no longer be the case in a matter of just years. Free high-quality content will be a really rare thing.
With that being said, stop hurting yourself, stop using AdBlocker Plus and spread the word about the company Eyeo GmbH and their monopoly. .
I’m A Publisher And Agree, What Can I Do To Help?
Spread the word and start campaigns speaking out against AdBlock Plus. Make your visitors aware of the problem AND the consequences they will have to face themselves. Several publishing companies, including the Axel Springer SE, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Spiegel, Zeit Online are either involved in a lawsuit against Eyeo GmbH or are considering one.
Also reach out to Eyeo and ask them to change their default blocking behaviours that block even conforming, IAB ads including Google Adsense.
It is rumored that Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo are forced to pay millions to be added to the whitelist themselves. Smaller companies do not have the means to pay for this service, which I consider to be an obvious and almost criminal abuse of a monopoly that should be regulated.
Eyeo, The Solution: Stop Blocking Everything!
The solution is simple: Instead of blocking just about any ads, only block ads that are truly intrusive, such as pop-up ads and flash ads. No honest publishing company will complain about that and users will still continue using Adblock Plus.
Should Eyeo not change their approach, WE have to increase pressure on them with more campaigns and formal complaints to political parties, the cartel office and consider legal steps.
Together we can make sure the free internet survives the next decade.
If you are a German publishing company, consider submitting a formal complaint to the cartel office (Bundeskartellamt).
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Oliver Krautscheid, Founder Peakstone Media Ltd.