I'll pass, thanks.

I've said many times in the past that the greatest invention in the history of television so far has been the DVR--no more being forced to sit through god-awful, intelligence-draining, soul-killing commercials. I think it's fair to say that I hate television advertising, even though I understand the purpose it serves in terms of paying for programming. (I hate most television programming as well, though, so it evens out.)

So it may seem odd that I wonder why people get so worked up about internet advertising that they would use something like adblock. Popups, sure--I've no fucking use for advertisements that are designed to get in my way when I'm trying to read something, and the fact that Firefox was one of the first and most effective at blocking popups was a reason I adopted the browser early. But most internet advertising I find to be generally unobtrusive, especially now that the default for most of them that have sound (in my experience) is that the sound is off now, as opposed to on. I think online advertisers have generally gotten the message that the quickest way to lose a customer is to drop an ad in front of the content and then make the user hunt for the magic x.

The arguments are a bit on the vituperative side between adblock people and users who want Firefox blocked from internet sites as retaliation (which is why I am concerned about this in the first place).

One such advocacy site, whyfirefoxisblocked.com, taunts a Firefox user with the headline, “You’ve reached this page because the site you were trying to visit now blocks the Firefox browser.”

The page includes the following argument: “While blanket ad blocking in general is still theft, the real problem is Adblock Plus’s unwillingness to allow individual site owners the freedom to block people using their plug-in. Blocking Firefox is the only alternative.”

Mr. Palant, writing on a blog related to the project (adblockplus.org/blog/), lashed out at those kinds of arguments.

“There is only one reliable way to make sure your ads aren’t blocked — make sure the users don’t want to block them,” he wrote. “Don’t forget about the users. Use ads in a way that doesn’t degrade their experience.”

Let's get one thing straight up front--wholesale ad blocking isn't theft. You can call it short-sighted, you can say that refusal to accept advertising as part of the interaction between users and the internet will lead to either subscription-only sites or a general decline in the quality of what's available, but it's not theft, just as fast-forwarding past the Coke ads that add an hour to a baseball game isnt' theft.

But more importantly, Palant is right. Make your ads less obtrusive and people won't want to block them. They'll just ignore them, or, at worst, make fun of them, the way I do whenever I see an ad for Townhall's latest Ann Coulter column on Pandagon's page. But if you want to make absolutely certain that I don't see your ads, then go ahead and block my browser. I won't see your content either, and I suspect that if your arguments are of the above quality, I won't be missing anything.

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