Is Ad Blocking Immoral? Does it Matter?

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Adblock Plus Adblock Plus is an extension to the FireFox browser that let’s you selectively block adverts. It is a rather advanced plugin with many options, but is it moral to use? Or is it stealing from bloggers?

The New York Times have given some facts behind the extension. Between the details of what exactly ad blocking is, and how it relates to various business models on the internet, one quote in particular stands out, “300,000 to 400,000 new users each month.” Is that figure worrying or to be expected?

There are some strong opinions for both sides of the debate. For instance, one article says that ad blocking is not only moral, but needed, whilst another has replied back with the counter side.

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Design Review: Starfeeder

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starfeeder2.jpg Starfeeder is a fan site for the massively popular StarCraft series of sci-fi strategy games. Naturally, Starfeeder sports a very modern, techy, design to suit the series. Has it pulled it off?

What Has Been Done Well?

  • Header image. Most blogs show their topic through a well-thought-up title, a good slogan, or some other sort of written message. Starfeeder however has chosen to use a striking image from the game itself. Very effective, and any long-time StarCraft fan will appreciate the joke!

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Are Sponsored Themes Blog Suicide?

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Sponsored
Photo by -LeeB-
If my theme is sponsored, will I get banned from Google?

In short, no. However, it is entirely possible that other aspects of the theme will get you banned, and even more worryingly for some is that non-sponsored themes can get you banned just as easily.

The fact that a theme is sponsored is rarely important, and should not be allowed to put you off sponsored themes altogether. The possible dangers of downloaded themes are not a myth however. They are very real, and malicious theme owners can do any number of things which could Google will begrudge you.

A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing

Most bloggers will know that when judging how to rank a site, search engines, like Google, look at links in particular. Many bloggers also know that they don’t judge your site only on the links coming in to it, but on the links going out from it. This is what has caused the commotion about sponsored themes.

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Advertising vs. Readership. It’s One or the Other.

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The Money CommunityAdvertising and readership are the two things that most bloggers are trying to promote. The thing that isn’t always realised is that you can’t promote both advertising and readership. It is either advertising or readership.

Your blog’s layout contains a number of hotspots. Content in these hotspots, such as that above the fold, is looked at (And then acted upon) more often than content in other locations. It is important to realise that each hotspot can only contain one type of content; either adverts or readership promotion.

Promoting Readership

By choosing to build readership, you are actively choosing to put your adverts into locations where they will perform worse, for the benefit of your readers. In this way, you can more easily encourage readers to subscribe, or simply browse in non-commercial peace. In this way you are hoping to build up a good audience, discussion and contacts.

This approach is best recommended for blogs still in their infancy. You will only continue writing the blog if you feel people are actually reading, and benefiting from it. With small audience, your profits are going to be meagre no matter how well you place them, so why damage your blog’s growth potential?

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