eMarketer found that about a quarter of all U.S. Internet users, nearly 70 million people, use technology to block online ads, either on their desktop or laptop computers or on their smartphones. I am one of those 70 million. I detest all the intrusive advertising and all the privacy-invading tracking of my online activities.
Sophisticated advertising technology has led to the creepy feeling you get when, for example, an item you were shopping for online suddenly shows up in your Facebook feed. Coincidence? Certainly not. The ad companies are tracking me and my online activities. They are tracking you as well. In effect, they are stalking all of us. That’s why millions of people use ad blockers: to stop the online tracking of our activities.
Some web sites have started a war against ad blockers. If you have an ad blocker installed in your web browser and you visit certain web sites, you will see a message that says something similar to this from Wired.com:
“Ads aren’t what you’re here for. But ads help us keep the lights on. So, add us to your ad blocker’s whitelist or pay $1 per week for an ad-free version of WIRED. Either way, you are supporting our journalism. We’d really appreciate it.”
I appreciate the fact that the web site’s owners need to pay the bills. However, my personal privacy and freedom from online stalkers is more important to me than is their need to generate revenue. I don’t want them to pay their bills by tracking my web habits and invading my privacy. I believe the advertisers simply have selected the wrong business models to advertise their wares. Luckily, there is a simple work-around that works for me.