This is why the web hates ads, and publishers are partly to blame for it

Bradley Wint
Sep 20, 2016 10:48pm AST
Photo: Marketing Land

Advertisers and Ad Blockers have always been at war, with the latest incident involving Facebook and Adblock Plus.

As it stands, Facebook seems to be winning, but we will see who claims victory in the long run.

Ads play an important role in paying the bills for many websites, resulting in free-to-access content, but as bad as some ads may be, some publishers should also take the blame for encouraging readers to install ad blockers.

Even as a publisher, I use ad blocking software because I have been infected, not once, but twice with malware served via advertisements. I do whitelist sites that follow best practices, but they are few and far apart as many major sites still try to sell as much ad space as possible.

Not all publishers fall in this category, but there are a few major labels that tend to ignore the balance between ad clutter and sheer greed.

I personally feel that desktop sites should be limited to three ad spots while mobile sites be limited to two.

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I took screenshots of a few random websites across the web, highlighting the ad spots in red. If you haven’t browsed the web with your ad blocker disabled in a long time, you may be in for a shock.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo’s ads aren’t too bad, but a lot of the side real estate and bottom is used for those crappy “recommended” links. I always hoped that native advertising would have worked out, but with silly titles like “How this guy became a millionaire overnight” or “See Justin Bieber naked”, I just felt like site owners are doing more harm than good to their brand name.

gizmodo

Indian Express

What pisses me off with Indian Express is that they block you from accessing their content if you have an ad blocker enabled, but then they have these fixed ads in the sidebar, and a ton of banners interspersed throughout the site. My browser got a bit sticky due the poorly coded JavaScript used to serve these ads.

indianexpress

TechnoBuffalo

I was quite disappointed to see a popular tech blog like this abusing their white space. The biggest problem with TechnoBuffalo is that they serve at least 10 ad spots per post, on top of the fact that their site uses infinite scroll within individual posts. With all that JS in the mix, you best use a computer with lots of RAM to browse their website.

Usually my browser sits between 500-700MB of used memory, but TechnoBuffalo easily took it up to 1200MB in a few seconds. Ad blocking is a must on this site if you still value your browsing experience.

technobuffalo

This Gen Gaming

Ok, I admit this is a no-name gaming blog I came across via N4G, but beyond the nine fixed ad spots, they also implemented a floating 728×90 unit fixed to the bottom of the screen that blocks out a decent bit of the site’s content. Counterproductive much?

I was told that this was a “major improvement” over their previous set up which also included fixed floaty banners to each side of the web page.

thisgengaming

I would have added Forbes to this list, but it seems they have since revised their ad portfolio after being a made a fool off for preventing users from browsing their website, when they had somewhere close to 11+ ad units per post. They still block ad block users, but at least their ads are now few and far apart.

I’ve uploaded these images to IMGUR if you prefer to take a closer look.

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