Hot Take Cisco: We all just need to agree that ad blockers are good

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Apr 24, 2016
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I don’t think this is a particularly bold take — but I’m not afraid to say that ad blockers are good!

Ever since I started using one sometime in 2016, my experience of using the internet has improved exponentially. I can finally easily find a recipe for dinner on a random influencer’s blog, get a faster answer to “how to replace my car’s headlights” and likely avoid hundreds of pieces of malvertising.

But their use has increasingly come into question with YouTube’s new policies on preventing users from using ad blockers on its site, with new warnings saying the user has a certain number of videos they can watch before they must allowlist youtube.com in their ad blocker, thus allowing the site to display ads before YouTube videos.

The second this popped up for me two weeks ago, I immediately started researching workarounds and quickly found a secure solution that works for my browsing habits. The easy explanation for why Google (YouTube’s parent company) wants to get rid of ad blockers is, simply, money. They run the Google Ads service that provides the stereotypical ads everyone has been used to seeing on websites since the early aughts. Unfortunately, bad actors will often use enticing headlines, fake images or sales pitches to trick people into clicking on links that lead to malicious sites, attacker-run scams or downloads that are malware.

Ad blockers are a major tool users can deploy to block this type of threat, so the explanation for why everyone should be using one is also clear.

Google isn’t the only major company looking to bypass ad blockers, either. Spotify’s terms of service explicitly outlaws “circumventing or blocking advertisements or creating or distributing tools designed to block advertisements” on its platforms, and many news websites like CNBC have warnings about turning off your ad blocker before you can proceed to read an article.

I am all for publishers charging for their content or putting it behind a paywall, or even “premium” subscriptions to disable ads from podcasts or videos. But we all need to universally agree that ad blockers (at least legitimate ones) are good for the internet at large and keep users safer. The FBI and CIA agree with me on this and have both advised that users enable ad blockers in web browsers before.
 

klepto

Level 2
Jun 14, 2020
76
The average website is filled to the brim with 3rd party scripts, tracking pixels and worse. An ad blocker is absolutely necessary!! I block ads at the dns level by using pi hole and unbound. Let's all take the trash out!! Thank you Google for letting all the normal people know about ad blockers :D.
 

Arequire

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Feb 10, 2017
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Thank you Google for letting all the normal people know about ad blockers
Technically they're not. The majority of the population are using Chrome without an ad blocker, and unlike practically all other browsers, Chrome doesn't have any integrated ad/tracker blocking, which means most people won't ever see Youtube's 'disable your ad blocker' message.
 

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