User jordan commenting on Mark Evans blog on Adblock Plus being an evil predator noted that

most online ads burst in on a conversation the user is having with some piece of content, with the obvious goal of distracting him into making a purchase. how would you feel if the same thing happened in the real world? “excuse me sir, i know you’re having a deep and meaningful conversation with your children, but are you interested in buying a new cellphone?” online advertising is the equivalent of panhandling.

I guess there is a perception that advertisements are for pushing people to buy some product or service. But IMO, advertisements are not for pushing people to buy anything. Advertisements (a word built on top of advert) are for turning a person’s attention to a product or service. That is it. They are not a tool to finish a transaction. At best, they can initiate a transaction.

Advertisements in magazines and websites are equivalent to the shout outs in a crowded market that bring your attention to a product or service. If the said person finds the product or service to be of no use, there is no harm in not paying for it.

The issue here is how intrusive can advertising get. And if it gets too intrusive, then people look for ways to get rid of advertisements altogether. So the onus is on the advertisers to try to grab attention without being too intrusive.

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