Why Web Sites Display Advertising

Most people actually viewing web pages would much prefer that the web page not contain any advertising. Advertising slows down the loading of the page in the first place and takes up space which could otherwise be used to display the page content making the page longer and requiring that you scroll further in order to read all of the page content.

Ideally then you might think that a plugin or extension for your browser that can identify and remove the ads from the page before you see the page might be a good thing. Such add-ons do exist for at least some of the available browsers but they are not used all that much even where they are available and in fact that is also a good thing.

There are two problems with implementing something to remove the advertising from web pages before you see it. One of them is that whatever you use to do so will not be 100% accurate in identifying what is and isn't an ad and therefore some ads will get through and some content will get hidden. The second and more important issue is that if everyone were to start removing the ads from web pages then there may soon be no web pages to remove ads from.

Creating web pages takes time and in most cases the author of the content of those pages expects to receive some sort of payment for that time. If there is no payment then they will spend their time doing something else instead for which they will get paid. There are a number of different ways in which the producers of web pages can get paid for the pages that they produce.

In some cases the pages relate to some particular product that is being sold and making available information about the product on web pages will increase the sales of that product. The payment for producing the web pages comes from the increased sales of the product.

Pure informational web pages produced by someone who is either not associated with the product being sold or where the product itself is being given away rather than sold need some other means of earning the money to pay for the author's time in creating those pages. Often the method chosen for doing this is to display advertising on the pages.

Web pages that display advertising have selected that particular method of paying for the cost of creating the pages in the first place. If insufficient income is made from the advertising then either no more pages of information will be produced or the site will need to start charging for access to the information (which will only work if the information is not available elsewhere and is information that people must have).

Where you choose to block all the advertising on web pages you ensure that the authors of the web pages you visit receive no income from your visits to their pages, if everyone were to block all the ads then they'd receive no income at all. Of course just because you see the ads still doesn't mean that they receive any income from you since there are several different payment models for advertising. Pay per view means that the site gets paid based on the number of people to view their ad and is the only payment model where ad blocking reduces their income regardless. Pay per click pays based on the number of people who interact with the ad while paying commissions on sales means that the person not only needs to interact with the ad they also need to but the product advertised before the page makes any money.

Advertising can be attached into web pages in different ways that will make it more or less noticeable. Some methods of inserting ads into web pages are more obtrusive than others and where the way the ads are attached is annoying enough then blocking that type of advertising is perfectly justifiable on the basis that people visit web pages to read the content and shouldn't be forced to interact with ads prior to being able to read that content.

Most web browsers will now automatically block the most obtrusive ad formats for you automatically (such as those that automatically open in a new browser window when you first visit the web page). Some advertising is not as obviously obtrusive but can still have a big impact on your experience of web pages (such as some of the ad scripts that convert words in the page content into ads using a huge script attached to the page which significantly slows the loading of the web page).

A compromise of some sort is needed since the page is useless to you if it contains so many obtrusive ads that you can't access the content and is equally useless if the page doesn't exist because there is no way for the author to get paid to write it. Sensible web sites will try to strike an appropriate compromise themselves by including advertising that interferes as little as possible with your being able to use the content they provide. For not so sensible sites that go to extremes with their advertising you have two choices - you can either find alternative sources for that information so as to not need to use their site or you can apply blockers to your browser that will block the more obtrusive advertising while still allowing any less obtrusive ads to be seen. Exactly how you disable the more obtrusive advertising will depend on both which browser you are using and how the advertising is applied (which may make finding an alternate source for the information a simpler solution where that information is available from lots of different places).


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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