Complex nature of internet ecosystem

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

The internet is a wonderful place.

There are vast swathes of open land, where you can see flocks of enthusiast websites and herds of social networks. You can always find business websites settling down for a drink by the internet river. You may see some unlucky sites get dragged into the waters by hackers hiding under the surface and there is an ever present threat of roaming packs of malware on the plains.

Casting your eye towards the horizon, you can see the fabled website graveyard. This is a place where once great websites go to end their days, without food or water. It is littered with 404 error messages and page could not be found.

The internet is a wonderful place, but there is a growing threat. AdBlockers have moved in to the area and are quickly draining all the food and water, making websites starve.

We all get annoyed by adverts. Especially those pop up ones that infest our lives. Oh before I go on, be sure to do a virus scan if you are seeing a lot of pop ups. The chances are you may have some malware on your machine.

One tactic that is becoming more common, in an attempt to remove the ads from your browsing experience, is to use an ad blocker. This is a plugin or extension that you can add to your browser, which automatically suppresses advertising.

Brilliant! You can now view websites unimpeded, the way they were intended to be viewed. Except…

Well, that isn’t the way they were intended to be viewed. A lot of legitimate businesses get income from advertising and if that income dries up because everyone is using an ad blocker…

We end up with the website graveyard. The internet starts breaking down and all the variety and spice that makes it special, starts to wither.

Think of it in these terms. If there was no advertising, would Google exist? What about Yahoo, or Microsoft’s Bing, or Lycos, or any search engine. What about all the other websites you see with advertising? Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are three I can think of straight away. Would they exist?

Whether you agree with advertising in an online world or not, the fact is it is a necessary part of the internet ecosystem. So, before adding an ad blocker, ask yourself if you are adding to your experience or killing it in the future.