Believe it or not. Advertising industry loves Ad-Block. It’s the same logic why 419 scammers continue to use broken English. Really, can’t 419 scammers use good English and have their message understood by more people? Surprisingly, 419 scammers figured out that using bad English makes them more profitable, just like users using ad-block make Advertisers more profitable .
Huh? What does Advertising industry have to do with 419 scammers? You bet it does. From the point of view of game theory, there is no difference between the advertising industry and 419 scams. Both work on the principle that by broadcasting a “bait” to as many people as possible, you increase the chances that some people will take the bait, and you will be able to “hook” some of them. In the case of the 419 scams, the bait is a promise of immense riches described in broken English, and the hook is the scam itself. In the case of advertising, the bait is the shiny advertising; the hook is the click on the ad, and the eventual sale.
So, you will ask, why would they want you to block their ads/use bad English? Why would they want to stop the bait from going to as many people as possible? The problem is that there is a cost to sending the bait. The Advertiser has to pay the website for showing the ad. They pay them a very tiny amount, but when you are showing millions of ads everyday those costs add up. The middle men in the advertising industry get their money back when you click the ad, and the advertiser makes money when you purchase.
So, really, what the advertiser wants to do is maximize the click-to-view ratio. Views cost them money. Clicks make them money. Minimize views while maximizing clicks. Make more money. Simple, right?
No, not so simple. Because maximizing click-to-view requires the advertiser to figure out what you need before you need it. That’s a crazy difficult task. They have to attempt to read your mind. Imagine if you were hungry, and you opened your browser, and out popped an ad for pizza delivery… You are a lot more likely to click it, right? That’s the advertiser’s dream! But the problem is the advertiser can’t read your mind. So, what it does is try to observe everything about you to make a guess. It can use strategies like showing more food ads during lunch time. Or tracking your search history to figure out what you are looking for. You googled for dildos yesterday. You probably need lube today. Here’s an ad for lube. Right? Fun? No?
Then there’s the user who is completely annoyed by ads. S/he will never click on an ad. S/he will never look at it. And if the ad tries to grab his/her attention, then s/he will complain to everyone s/he knows on social media so that no one will want to buy the product you are selling, or go to the website that is hosting your advertisement. There is a certain segment of population who hates ads with a vengeance. If you show them an ad, you lose money.
Now, if only there was some way that allowed these people who are hostile to ads to opt out of ads… that will work great for everyone, right? They don’t get bothered; Advertisers don’t waste views on them and create negative publicity. The problem is that this kind of user is also going to vehemently object to register somewhere to opt-out of ads. You mean to stop annoying ads, I have to give you information about me, and put a cookie in my browser. Are you kidding me?
In the meantime, here comes AdBlock! Not only does it allow the hostile users to opt-out of ads, it’s also designed by the very people that hostile users identify with, so they are more likely to feel good using it. It’s a huge victory for you when your sworn enemy does something that works in your favor.
It’s the same thing with 419 scams. The average user who gets annoyed with bad English is also likely to smell a scam. The 419 scammers are looking for the person who is willing to put up with the inconvenience of parsing bad English, because they know this person is either greedy or susceptible enough. The bad English acts as a filter against hostility just like ad-block works as a filter against hostility.
So, who gets affected by AdBlock? It’s the website, that loses revenue. Remember: the website, especially the smaller ones, get paid per view. Taking views away takes away their revenue. Personally, when I like a site, I turn off AdBlock for that site. If I’m using it frequently enough, and they are ad funded, I consider the views I generate as “payment” for the use of the site.
Author: Jayesh Lalwani