Oh look, my Google News page suggested I might like this article on a nationally known website / news source.
Okay, I’ll give it a glance.
And a quick click and …
I can see the article, but two seconds later, the screen goes black.
And in that blackness, there’s a new screen on my browser – one that says that the web browser notices that I’m using ad-blocking software, and that unless I whitelist this website OR buy a monthly subscription to read that site any time, I ain’t getting past that digital barrier.
Here’s the thing. I used to have no problem with websites and their advertisements. I would ignore them or I would scroll past them. I was on that page to read the article, not to read the advertisement.
But then the advertisements got annoying. They popped up in the middle of my reading. Or they popped UNDER the screen, which would only show up when I closed my web browser.
In some cases, the advertisement would play a short video at EAR-SPLITTING volumes. You had to try to mute the video – if the video COULD be muted at all.
So when ad-blocking software like Ad-Block Plus came out – I added it to my Firefox web browser. And it’s been peaceful ever since.
But it’s also caused some issues along the way. Especially when a website sees that I’m using ad-blocking software, they turn around and throttle their site so I can only read a couple of articles a month OR they just lock me completely out.
Well isn’t that special.
But here’s the thing. There are companies out there that participate in something called malvertising, in which they will set up legitimate ad buys on websites, but then turn around and load the advertisements with sketchy links and self-loading scripts. It’s an opportunity for the scammers to infiltrate your system and crash your computer – or worse.
And that happened to me eight years ago.
I blogged about the experience, but long story short, my old Sony VAIO laptop picked up a computer virus which may have installed itself from a self-loading website advertisement. It took a lot of stress and a lot of struggle, but I was able to eventually save the laptop and evict the virus. I don’t care that it was eight years ago when this happened – it’s still in the back of my mind that something like that could happen at any time to anyone.
So yeah, I keep the security high among both my laptop and my desktop computers. Trusted Malwarebytes antivirus software, and updated as often as required. And yes, that also includes the ad-block software.
Because honestly, I have to protect what is mine and keep it away from scammers and thieves.
And if you don’t like that I’m not interested in reading your advertisements … or that your page may load wonky if the ad-block software interferes with your website construction …
Well, then I’ll simply go read someone else’s website and not yours.
And if you have a problem with that … sorry, bro.
My computer’s security supersedes your website’s indignance.