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22 August, 2007

Blocking Firefox?

Ha!  Neil reports a 'campaign' by certain website owners (well, one owner, anyway) to 'fight back' against those of us who block adverts (using the invaluable 'AdBlock' or 'AdBlock Plus' Firefox extensions) – by blocking access by all Fx users.  If he feels able to reject ~20% of his traffic, fair enough.

A seemingly dead link at his website (which I'm definitely not going to promote – have this one instead* ) mentions 'The Firefox Cult', but I can safely deny that I'm no unthinkingly worshipper of a particular browser. It's my chosen package, offering an interface and functionality I like, but that's the extent of my loyalty to Fx. If I was persuaded that a better browser existed, I doubt I'd hesitate to switch.

However, let's be clear: one of the main reasons I use Firefox is specifically to block adverts. I refuse to accept advertising, outright. If you consider it essential to your revenue stream, too bad.
As I've said before:

If site creation and hosting have cost implications for the site owner, they are the owner's alone. As a site visitor, I accept no moral responsibility to load or view marketing material – a site owner's costs are simply not my problem. I always decline to pay for web content, and that includes in the form of screen space within my browser.
Obviously, a site owner has the right to place adverts and hope someone responds on them, but he/she can't demand a visitor's participation.
Again paraphrasing myself: I don't agree that a site owner can justifiably rely on advertising revenue – one might welcome a little extra income from ads, but I don't believe one has a right to rely on it.
If a site is that of a commercial venture, hosting is paid for by company income. Why on earth should I pay a firm's marketing bill?
Conversely, if it's a private site, it's a matter of personal choice to expend money on a hobby. If one was a recreational skier, would one expect other people on the slopes to pay for one's skis and lift pass?

That's from one of several times I've mentioned my zero-tolerance approach to web advertising, and therefore AdBlock. In a comment on another of those previous entries, Neil made an excellent point: that those inclined to install ad-blocking utilities are extremely unlikely to click through ads anyway, so they – we – are already irrelevant to advertisers; there's no point blocking us.

Incidentally, whilst I consider this supposed 'campaign' misguided, and a quick Google search has failed to identify anyone (with a decent PageRank) in favour of it, I fully accept the site owner's right to block visitors. I emphatically wish to distance myself from contributors to, say, Digg, who have taken this far too personally and unacceptably viciously. There's no justification for republishing a photo of the site owner's children.

What would be a far more effective means of fighting back against the fight-back would be to use Opera's out-of-the-box integral ad-blocker function, or even better, install and use the IE7Pro ad-blocker for Internet Explorer. I'd love to discover whether this guy thinks he can do without all IE users too....

*: Amusingly, that linked anti-anti-Fx site features an advert for Firefox. Which I block....

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