An open letter to display advertising

Dear Internet,

I appreciate you. The sheer amount and quality of information and entertainment at my fingertips amazes me – and so much of it is free! Your resources are second to none and I value them dearly.

You know what else I value? My privacy. That’s why I use an app that stops sites tracking my browsing. This is not because I am against display advertising, it’s because I care about who knows where I have been.

Ghostery, AdBlock and apps like them let me keep track of my cookies, tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons. I can choose which of those to allow and which to block on each site. It’s my information and it’s my right to control it.

Adblockers like Ghostery allow you minute control of your cookies.
Adblockers like Ghostery allow you minute control of your cookies.

As a new media journalist and a data junkie, there is a conflict in my heart. I am acutely aware that news media has no revenue model without display advertising (and frankly, a very weak one with it); and the data nerd in me is excited by the tracking tools available. And several well-regarded advertising folks claim adblockers are “destroying the Internet”. But as a person, I pull rank. It’s my party and I’ll kick y’all out if I want to.

Those using adblocker software are familiar with the guilt trip message.
Those using adblocker software are familiar with the guilt trip message.

I know I’m using an ad blocker. You don’t need to tell me all the time. I know you think that by reminding me, I’ll feel bad enough to switch it off. I won’t, trust me. And no one I know will either.

The truth is, those of us who have ad blockers are actively engaged in our internet security. We know what we’re doing. And a nagging message – however well-intentioned – isn’t going to change our minds. It will just make us like you less.

Yours sincerely,

Friend to the Internet

 

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