Marketers and the companies they advertise for hate the whole idea of Adblockers, and understandably so. Of course, it is easy to see the other side of the argument, especially with the advent of maladvertising. What is maladvertising? How does adblock protect you? What does adblock mean for the future of free content?

What Does Maladvertising Do?

Criminals can cause problems through digital ads a number of different ways. Here’s a familiar scenario.

The ad itself may serve as a booby trap that goes off when the video plays (and many autoplay). How does it get onto your screen while you may be using a legit site?

Here it comes back to the ad network either being shady or just not catching the hack. Unfortunately, that ad network may run ads on many sites, and most of those ads may be legit, resulting in the ad networking displaying ads on all sorts of reputable sites.

Occasionally, the malicious ad plays—and users pay the price.

What Is Adblock?

Adblock basically stops all ads across the board from running. You don’t see the malicious ads because you don’t see any ads. So why doesn’t everyone just use adblock? While adblockers are usually free, there’s a hidden cost associated with using them.

Adblock and the Future of Free Content

The problem with blocking all ads is that many of those ads are responsible for the existence of sites that provide tons of free content to users. Their primary source of income is those ads. When the ads are blocked, the site doesn’t get paid by sponsors. So ultimately, adblock could eventually mean the end of all free content.

Now we need to find a happy medium. Ad networks are really in the hot seat since they act as the go-between for the user and the ads that are either legit or malicious. Sites need to be as picky as possible with their ad networks, but the ad networks need to be even pickier with which ads they decide to run.

In the meantime, it is up to the users to determine whether to adblock or to risk their own security in order to support sites that offer free content.