As the Internet has grown from its modest roots to the engine that drives modern life, it has taken on an increasingly commercial character.
Information that used to be shared with no strings attached now comes at the annoying price of having to watch another advertisement. Consumers have been complaining for years, and it seems our prayers have been answered.
Or so we think.
A new device called AdTrap gives users the ability to intercept online advertisements before they reach any devices. It is easily set up between the modem and router, with no configuration needed once AdTrap is installed. Inventors Chad Russell and Charles Butkus took pains to make the device as user-friendly and effective as possible.
The problem is that AdTrap is not the best solution to the problem of annoying ads. The long-term effects it could have on the Internet will hurt precisely those it wants to help: consumers.
People take for granted that they can access videos and a lot of information online for free. While suffering through ads can be frustrating, it is a small price to pay for all the content that is now at our fingertips. Highlights of our favorite sports games, interviews on news networks and Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke — all of these are available for free on demand because of ads.
AdTrap’s attempt to reduce the effectiveness of ads means that companies will stop producing them. In turn, websites will find that their traditional sources of revenue will no longer exist. Faced with this loss of income, sites will undoubtedly start charging consumers for videos or articles.
Or they could shut down entirely.
Businesses may not even have enough time to adjust to the changes. Ads are such an integral part of most online websites’ income, that finding alternative forms of revenue will be a long process.
Many smaller companies will probably go out of business once AdTrap floods the market the way it is expected to.
Luckily, according to a Huffington Post article, AdTrap does offer the option of “whitelisting” some websites so that ads can appear on them. Consumers can whitelist sites they support, thus relieving the pressure businesses will suffer from a loss of revenue. I just don’t think enough users will take advantage of this feature, given that they will likely not consider the negative effects of removing ads.
A better strategy for decreasing the prevalence of ads would be to engage with businesses directly. Circumventing them with AdTrap and removing a key component of the modern ad-driven Internet is too drastic a step. Given the option between no ads and less ads, websites would most likely reduce the prevalence of ads to a more acceptable level.
We can also embrace ads as another part of our capitalist system. We live with the prosperity capitalism brings, so why not accept this minor inconvenience?