From browsers to mobile hardware, the drive is on to empower audiences to block advertising from their Internet searches and their mobile browsers. Ad blocking allows the average Internet user to increase page load speed, and to decrease the number of advertisements packed into, around and even behind content.
The rise of ad blocking poses philosophical problems for the savvy peace builder in three areas:
Scarcity—The business model of the Internet and social media is built on the fact that there is a wealth of content on the web and that there are spaces where this content comes at the consumer like a firehose (i.e. web browser searches). There are spaces where it comes through funnels (i.e. Facebook). The companies that control those funnels are the ones that develop and encourage a false perception of scarcity for content consumers. For the audience, there will always be a scarcity of quality content around peace making and peace building practices and processes.
Monetization—There is a belief that the only way for a content creator to be compensated for using their time and energy to create, is by the creator entering into a bargain with an advertiser. If a peace builder works locally and regionally for ten years on building their blogging presence while also doing all of the other things that don’t scale well--gaining 5,000 followers over that ten year period--that peace builder has developed an audience who will pay them. At that point, RSS feeds, email lists and other subscriber-based ways (tired system pricing models come to mind here) become a viable monetization alternative to placing a Google Ad on their website.
The long tail—Are the peace building philosophies, practices and procedures peace builders advocate, really for every person in conflict? The long-tail philosophy (applied to peace building) says that the tools of peace building are not for everybody in conflict. The long tail also says that savvy peacebuilders (as web publishers and content creators) will go broke appealing to the masses, rather than doing the hard work of building trust, day in and day out, whether anybody consumes content or not. For peace builders with dreams of scaling, this may mean long years of toiling when nothing appears to be happening. As the tools for creating content become cheaper and cheaper, and as the impetus to create content expands, and as the reach of the Internet grows into other geographical areas of the globe, peace building may scale…or it may not.
Ad blockers have appeared because the backlash against being sold constantly on all platforms at all times has reached epidemic proportions, with digital marketing advertising companies and organizations searching for ways to earn the most valuable—and scarce—resource left on the planet—audience attention.
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By Jesan Sorrell