Color me one of those browser users who became fed up with online advertising a few years ago. What set me off? A vacation where my cellphone bill doubled thanks to browsing too many websites with too many ads that sucked down too much data and took too much bandwidth.
The real problem with online advertising is what we cannot see. Nearly every website has ads. That’s OK. But behind each page are megabytes of trackers and analytics trackers which suck up bandwidth and time. Ad blockers stop that nonsense, but there’s a price to pay.
My Mac, iPhone, and iPad are home to a few ad blockers. Plus, I use the new Brave browser and Firefox to block even more ads. Here’s another ad blocker that works on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. For a price. It’s called StopAd. It does what it says, including stopping ads on Facebook. I like that.
For the Mac, StopAd not only blocks advertisers, but it has some built-in anti-malware and anti-phishing protection options. The free version gets rid of the typical pop-ups and banner ads, but also stops ads on Facebook, Google, YouTube, and other nefarious sites known for their trackers. The pro version does even more, including use on all major browsers at the same time, and it blocks trackers, phishing, and other malware.
StopAd Pro is a subscription app, so if you use it on multiple devices you pay a single price by the month or by the year. Get used to that method because its one that has legs.
So, what’s the problem with ad blockers and tracker blockers?
First, most websites get their revenue from advertising. Consider ads the fuel that runs the non-ecommerce section of the internet. Second, advertising revenue has been based upon so-called click-through rates, and both the revenue per ad and revenue per click have been going down for a decade.
In other words, ad blocking is yet another nail in the coffin of online publishers. StopAd stops ads but does not help publishers provide their content for free. Some websites have paywalls– another subscription for content. Others, including Mac360 and the Villagers websites, have dropped ad trackers– indeed, all trackers, including analytics and cookies– in favor of a few embedded ads relevant to our readers.
The price of blocking ads has two components. The first browser ad blockers were free. Some remain free– Firefox and Brave come to mind. More recently, ad blockers come with a price tag and that price has grown as ad blocking technology becomes more complex. Now, we see ad blockers and anti-malware applications that have adopted a subscription pricing mechanism.
Ad blocking is a complex issue with no easy solution because even blocking has a price to pay.