Ad blockers have become essential add-ons for almost any browsers in recent days. They primarily provide relief from the intrusive ads, popups and annoying content blocking ads on websites. Ads on webpages do not currently have a design standard to be less annoying and interfering with the users. Many websites that primarily depend on ad revenue maximize the display of ads on a single web page.
Besides reducing the amount of ads displayed, Ad blockers also protect users from malicious ads that trick them to buy fake products and services or even worse trap them in a social engineering attack. Most of the Ad blocker extensions on a browser are free, allowing almost all users to install them. One cannot imagine the amount of ads user have to watch while reading an article.
While users can scroll past the ads on a webpage, it is hard to skip when there is content blocking ad that forces users to watch it before presenting the content.
YouTube doesn't fill their entire video listings page with Ads, however you cannot watch a video without being forced to see an ad first. If you are lucky you may get just one ad for one video. Most of the times you are not.
Ads on the internet are not uncommon. They help small content publishers in making money and keeps the website running. They used to be non blocking and less annoying to the viewers. What is uncommon is, the extent to which online businesses are going to maximize the ad revenue. Inventing new ways to increase the user engagement with ads at every possible action on their apps.
And there is a whole another world of privacy issues with Ads that makes users reluctant to spend quality time on the internet without worrying about giving away their data to the unknown data seller. No matter which website you visit after you search for a product, the ads will haunt you for days.
Big platforms understand this and rather than focusing on making user experience better with less frequent ads so the user can spend more time on their app, they found a way to make more money from the annoyed users in the form of premium subscriptions. This can be interpreted as – create a problem and then solve it for a price.
This situation is not just unique to YouTube, many social networks started doing the same. X, formerly Twitter for example, depends on advertisers as their primary revenue, but now found a way to also make the platform users pay to avoid ads on their feed.
Using Adblockers is a violation of YouTube's Terms of Service apparently and they suggest everyone to either allow YouTube to show ads or disable the extension. YouTube is a private and full-profit company, they can create their own terms of service that suits their business and profits. It is also worth noting that Alphabet, the parent company of YouTube and Google is one of the biggest provider of ads on the internet.
I can only wonder how the future of internet looks like with the big push for ads from all directions. One day there may be more ads on a page than the content, more ads listed than the search results, more watch time for the video ad than the underlying video.
May be internet users are just like school of fish in the giant ocean of ads.