As a college student who watches a lot of her shows and movies by streaming them online, AdBlock has become a big part of my watching experience. I remember being completely blown away by the fact that I would no longer have to sit through a one-minute ad to watch a 30-second video on YouTube. More importantly, AdBlock insured that I would never be subjected to shady pop-up ads again. Now, as a student in Questrom, I know that most companies depend on advertising through the internet to reach their targeted audience. Even so, my knee-jerk reaction to an advertisement before or during a video is to release a disgruntled sigh. However, what really used to grind my gears is when websites forced you to whitelist them or turn off your AdBlock in order to access their content. Again, I completely understand where they are coming from. It’s just a personal reaction to being forced to face the necessary evil of the Web.
Netflix, however, came up with a unique way to identify AdBlock users and creep them out. The Netflix original series “Black Mirror” used a very meta method of dealing with AdBlockers. Their promotional tagline says “Hello AdBlock User. You cannot see the ad. But the ad can see you. What’s on the other side of your Black Mirror?” At this point, everyone knows that their every move on the internet is being tracked by companies to
determine and personalize the advertisements that are displayed to you. Although there is nothing subtle about an Amazon discount promo for Five Star notebooks turning up on your Facebook right after you placed an order for textbooks on Amazon Prime, there is still something discreet about not being called out directly. “Black Mirror,” on the other hand, throws caution to the wind with their tech-savvy promotional ads.
Due to my first-hand experience with some really nasty pop-up advertisements, I made the decision to install AdBlock. “Black Mirror’s” promos cleverly highlighted users’ tendency to treat ads like they are a nuisance. But they also made me question my reasoning behind keeping AdBlock turned on when I visit websites that provide great content and profit solely on ads. It made me realize that for the most part, good websites keep advertisements in the margins and don’t really disrupt my experience of exploring their pages. If Netflix’s intention was to sassily confront AdBlockers and make them rethink their decision, it certainly worked in my case. From now on, I’ve decided to disable my AdBlock when I visit sites that give me excellent content for free. As for those streaming websites that redirected me to advertisements saying, “Lose 50 pounds in a week,” AdBlock will remain strongly abled.