Opinion

Web Ads Still Suck

Brian Lipscomb
May 15, 2020 08:53 AM ET

Google has announced that Chrome will start blocking resource-heavy ads beginning sometime in August. A resource-heavy ad is defined as one that consumes “4MB of network data, 15 seconds of CPU usage in any 30-second period, or 60 seconds of total CPU usage” (see this VentureBeat article for more details).

You’ve probably encountered these ads. Some slow your browser to a crawl. Others obscure the page you’re trying to read. Regardless of what the ad is trying to sell, they get in the way of your browsing experience, and frankly, they need to be done away with completely.

I have yet to meet a person who likes intrusive ads, and the sad thing is that just about everyone is using them. I used to enjoy reading CNN.com, but now after about a minute or so, here comes a huge picture of Anderson Cooper talking about news. Well CNN, I was trying to read the news, and here you are blocking it. Go away.

At some point, somebody decided it was a good idea to have ads that pop up over the page, push the top of the page down (while you’re reading), or otherwise get in the way. I understand that websites need revenue, but it has absolutely gone too far. Let’s not forget the dozens of ads and nonsense articles from outfits like Taboola and Outbrain that litter the bottom of just about every web page.

The industry needs to recognize that ad blockers exist for a reason: ads have become so obtrusive that it makes people hate the sites that show them. I don’t mind a banner ad at the top of the page or a few in the sidebar. But to completely cover what I’m trying to read, and in some cases actually make me wait several seconds before I can dismiss it makes me want to never visit your site again.

I don’t like it, my browser doesn’t like it, and you need to do better. The sites that get and keep my eyeballs will be those that know how to be reasonable with their advertising.