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Is Ad-blocking Theft

Page history last edited by Jose Jaime Bisuña 4 years, 8 months ago

Is Ad-blocking Theft?


Author: Holly Richmond

Date: October 13, 2015

Link: https://www.digitalethics.org/essays/ad-blocking-theft


First Impression: The essay probably talks about how websites lose revenue from browser extensions that block advertisements such as “AdBlock” and if using these extensions is considered theft since it prevents websites from earning.


Quote: “Online media publishers should change, as asking consumers to change is a recipe for failure—and for stagnation rather than innovation in business models. It's not the consumer's job to figure out a successful business model for the vendor.



There are different ways for a website to earn revenue, and one way that is well known is through ads. A website earns through ads by selling advertising space, these are space allotted in a website for advertisements. The advertisements being generated are usually related to the recent browsing history of the user, such as what the user has been searching for usually related to online shopping. Although there are instances where in advertisements on websites could get annoying, such as simply clicking on the screen could cause a new window to pop showing the shoes you were looking at earlier or a new window popping up showing this thing you were looking at Amazon a while back, these distract you from what you are doing and engage you in thinking of whether or not to buy this product. Nowadays people install third party browser extensions to block these annoying advertisements so that they would not be bothered anymore. This is good for the users end, but for the website it is not due to the revenue they will lose due to these ad blockers. It was mentioned in the essay that websites found a work around towards users who use ad blockers, some ask for donation, some do not even allow users to enter the site unless they disable AdBlock, and some ask for a one time or monthly payment for advertisement free experience. I think that this is a step in the right direction since it helps websites earn even though there are people out there with browsers that have ad blocking extensions.


5 Things I Learned

  1. Some websites that are being adblocked by a third party browser extension do not allow users permission to access their website unless they turn off the adblock.

  2. Websites increasingly harvest our personal info, evidenced only by a tiny pop-up bar that says, “Using our site means you agree to our terms and conditions.”

  3. Ads we look at once, follow us around the internet.

  4. Websites lose revenue from third party adblocking browser extensions.

  5. The implementation of adblock is like having many people eat in a restaurant, and not paying.

5 Integrative Questions

  1. How often are we being tracked by ads on the internet?

  2. How is the data being gathered used by websites, for what purposes?

  3. When a data breach occurs, how do companies compensate to the stolen data of their customers?

  4. Do companies let us know if a data breach occurs?

  5. How much data is being collected per person?

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