This question was posed by VentureBeat.

It was answered by the 27.6 percent of U.S. Internet surveyed users who said they use ad blocking software.

… and by me.

Gerhard Stiene, who asked this question in a VentureBeat article, wrote:

Display advertising, like banner ads, is the only revenue stream for many content creators.

Ad Blocking Is Digital Self-Defense

However, advertisers and marketers have only their own actions to blame for helping some users decide to take control of an advertising world gone amuck. They’ve pushed some users to decide in favor of using ad-blocker apps, browser extensions, and similar software as a way to defend themselves against often shady or user experience tarnishing practises.

Until advertisers realize that more and more website visitors are becoming quite tired of being tracked, packaged and sold on any advertising dark alley auction, ad-blockers and VPNs will be chosen as a personal defense. Must we even discuss the issues of malware, security, privacy and just plain user experience common sense?

Maybe popular technology site Ars Technica equates it (using ad-blockers) to eating at a restaurant and not paying, or as some, using WiFi for free without buying a cup of coffee, but the reality is that the price is often too high when we become the actual product for resale to some unknown 3rd or 4th party.

Imagine that as soon as you walk into a restaurant, your picture is taken without your knowledge so that it can be Snapchatted or sold to some sleazy dude for a profit. Then imagine the restaurant owner following you around and showing you items that your friends purchased from a shop down the road. As you leave the restaurant, he follows you to your next stop and continues to note where you go and what you buy so that he can sell that information back to that sleazy dude who bought your picture. That’s the world of advertising today.

Oh, but the restaurant owner tries to cover part of your face using a crayon to protect your privacy. He keeps his files on you in a box, under his bed – no thief will find it there, right?

Let’s not burry the fact that ads can destroy a good experience such as when Ars Technica takes over a mobile screen with an ad before reaching your desired article, or worse, leaks data that can be used in ways we might not want.

When Verizon supercookies, auto-play videos and class action privacy suits spring from ill-thought advertising gimmicks or outright hostile we’ll-do-it-as-long-as-users-don’t-find-out attitudes, the answer to the above question will always be NO.

I say:

It’s not theft – it’s simply self-defense and common sense.

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