The ethics of modern web ad-blocking

Marco Arment, writing on his site:

I’ve never been tempted to run ad-blocking software before — I make most of my living from ads, as do many of my friends and colleagues, and I’ve always wanted to support the free media I consume. But in the last few years, possibly due to the dominance of low-quality ad networks and the increased share of mobile browsing (which is far less lucrative for ads, and more sensitive to ad intrusiveness, than PC browsing), web ad quality and tolerability have plummeted, and annoyance, abuse, misdirection, and tracking have skyrocketed.

I used to run ad-blocking tools in my browser years ago, until I ran into the ethical quandary Marco describes. It's probably been the better part of a decade since I considered using them again.

However, like Marco (and some others), I've reconsidered my stance. The state of web ads has reached a tipping point. More often than ever before, I find there are sites that I just can't bear to go to anymore, either because their load times are atrocious, their content is completely muddled and damn-near completely obscured, or when they do load, my computer is basically throttled by all of the extra processing power the shitty ads require. I'm not being hyperbolic about that. There have been myriad instances where I've navigated to a popular site (PCGamer, GameSpot, The Verge, etc.) where their stories are flanked by background ads. Scrolling becomes a nightmare. Animations, unbearably choppy. Battery life plummets. This is on a 13" Retina MacBook Pro.

This. Shouldn't. Happen.

We've passed the point at which any reasonable person should put up with the current ad environment. There are better ways to monetize these sites. Ways that respect both creator and consumer. CPM has obliterated the web, and it's time to fight back and stop letting ad networks hijack our computers, our bandwidth, and our private data.