The Real Reason I Love AdBlock

First, let’s get this out of the way: Yes, there are ads on my web site. I have no problem with anyone blocking them. In fact, I have no problem with anyone doing what I’m going to discuss in the remainder of this article. I’d love to hear from you if you do, so that I can improve the design of my web site.

The ability to block ads is one of the best inventions in browser technology, since so many ads are incredibly obnoxious and intrusive these days. Lately, though, I find that most web sites seem to be designed to be obnoxious and intrusive, even without any ads. Compare the two screen shots below, for example. The first shows an article on Business Insider in Google Chrome.

Without AdBlock

As far as actual content goes, I see a headline… and that’s about it. There’s all this stuff going on everywhere. You’ll notice that there is only one ad visible, and it’s not really that annoying. In fact, I’d say it’s the least irritating intrusion into my reading experience. Go to the site yourself, and you’ll see what I mean. Imagine trying to read a newspaper like that.

Now, here’s the exact same article in the exact same browser window with AdBlock turned on, along with my own special set of tweaks to clean up the page.

With AdBlock

Such bliss! Now I can read the entire article with no annoyances. The text of the article fits into the same space that before, without AdBlock, showed only the headline. There’s also no popup that flies in from the side when I scroll down.

The Magic

If you use AdBlock and you’d like to make your reading experience on Business Insider as clean as this, try the following set of customized filters:

The way to set this up for yourself on other sites is to right-click on an obnoxious bit of the screen, select “AdBlock” from the pop-up menu, and select “Block this ad” from the sub-menu. From there you can tweak the filter until the annoyance is removed, and then reload the page. I’ve done this enough now that I can usually clean up a site in a couple of minutes, and if it’s a site that I read frequently I can make up for that lost time after a few visits.

Maybe this kind of design makes a lot of money for Business Insider and sites like it, but what it says to me is that the articles, and their contents, are the least important features of the site from the publisher’s point of view.

From my point of view, the only reason I’m even on the site is to read the content. If any site makes the content hard to read, and if it’s too difficult for me to clean up the site with AdBlock, then I’m just not going to visit that site anymore.


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