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Ad Blockers Could Face Legal Action?

Linda Buquet

The fight against ad blockers heats up again and in today's CNET article <a target="_new" href="">some legal experts say</a> blocking ads could end up in lawsuits. I don't think legal intervention is the answer. And I don't think ad blockers are that big of a problem yet. But they could be if certain advertisers don't turn it down the noise a few decibels.

The root of this whole problem really lies with aggressive advertisers and the sites that display overly intrusive ads. Not many people at all would even feel the need to use ad blockers if ads weren't popping up, screaming at you, scrolling across the content and jumping in your face. Do companies really think that being that aggressive helps their image or sales? If they keep it up then more consumers WILL start using ad blockers and we all lose a piece of the market.
<blockquote><strong><a target="_new" href="">CNET: Web Ad Blocking May Not Be (entirely) Legal</a></strong>
"Tomorrow's legal fight may be over Web browser add-ons that let people avoid advertisements. These add-ons are growing in functionality and popularity, which has led legal experts surveyed this week by CNET to speculate about when the first lawsuit will be filed.

If ad-blockers become so common that they slice away at publishers' revenues, "I absolutely would expect to see litigation in this area," said John Palfrey, executive director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society."</blockquote>
What I found most interesting about today's CNET article were the comments. Listen to the outcry below from consumers that have their computers slowed down and their viewing obscured due to in-your-face ad tactics.

<blockquote>"Push Advertising: We are just responding by pushing back," "Advertisers should blame themselves," "The answer is not to go after Ad block (cause there will be a million replacements), its to control the amount and quality of ads you display on your site."

This government employee says it best: "if they wouldn't intrude on the article I may be trying to read simply because my mouse cursor drifted over them. ... if the flash they used didn't slow some aspects of my workstation class computer down. ... if random ads didn't contain annoying sound bites... Stop making them annoying and intrusive and I will stop blocking them. I didn't install AdBlocker Plus because I didn't want to see the ads, I installed it because the ads were getting to the point of annoying."</blockquote>
So before you put up that "shoot the monkey" ad think about the long term effects!


Good post Linda and absolutely true, been blogging about this whole hoohah myself.

I use advertising like millions of others but I always try not to be too intrusive and let my blog readers choose if they want to view them. The desire for adblocking tools has arisen for the same reason that pop-up blockers and cookie eating anti-spyware have become the norm. As you say, really irritating and in-your-face, and now ears, hard sell, often of worthless junk.

Remember when your teacher said in a classroom lecture - "there is always somebody who has to spoil it for everybody else". Unlike the child, humiliated in front of his peers when singled out as the "spoiler", aggressive advertisers are unlikely to repent or reconsider their actions. They think theirs are leading edge techniques which someone should have told them were already dying more than a decade ago.