Speaking from both a media buyer perspective and a consumer of online information I would say that ad blocking was born out of necessity. Consumers including myself suffered and continue to suffer from poor experience on certain websites.
Some consumers of digital content have been forced to subscribe to ad blocking to improve their experience. However, this also comes at a cost because how else would you know about that awesome gadget that has been released to make your life better without seeing it being advertised.
The competing elements here include user experience, the role of advertising for businesses and consumers, and publisher revenues. It is thus, imperative that some balance is created, and the onus is on the publishers because after all, we can’t expect the users to persevere with the poor experience.
In a bid to increase their revenues, publishers have resorted to cramming their space with ads some of which are poorly targeted and cannot be closed. Enter ad blocking, which blocks each and every advert. In such a situation everyone loses.
The situation has forced Google to try and contain the problem by introducing their ad blocking program in an attempt to create the balance, which is a good thing. However, the challenge with this plan is to ensure that Google uses its gatekeeping powers for good and not to stomp on competitors by arbitrarily blocking their ads.
Google, in this case, should make the workings of its ad blocking system clear by transparently communicating the criteria for its blocking algorithm. This will eliminate suspicion and restore sanity to the online advertising field and improve the user experience.