I've deleted my ad blocker

I had completely forgotten that I even had an ad blocker until The Guardian's website served me a message asking (nicely) for a financial contribution as I was using an ad blocker.

Dominic Shales has deleted his ad blocker, but why?
Dominic Shales has deleted his ad blocker, but why?
The ad blocker I had installed told me that I had blocked some 3,190 ads. That made me feel really rather guilty and foolish and I've now turned it off.

Why did it make me feel guilty and foolish?

Firstly, the fragmentation of audiences has undoubtedly increased the financial pressure on media owners, to the point that many important outlets are threatened with extinction. 

That loss of 'real' media would be catastrophic for society at large: it would remove a crucial filter that, mostly, weeds out rumour and untruth; and it would, over time, reduce the balancing power of 'real' journalists in a democratic nation.

Secondly, I work in marketing and should be exposed to as many marketing messages as possible from as many brands as possible.  

I love seeing great creative advertising.  

I'm the type of person who reads all the ads on the tube and tries to work out what the strategy is, who the target audience is and how it might fit into a wider media approach.  

Why on earth would I deliberately shut off my own ability to see loads of other ads online by using a blocker – I must have been crazy.

Finally – and this is a sweeping generalisation – the bad old days of being interrupted constantly by distracting pop-ups and intrusive flashing 'buy now' buttons are mostly gone.  

Now, with the rise of programmatic advertising, most ads are genuinely better targeted and more relevant.  

If I'm looking for a new coffee table and my online behaviour is tracked so advertisers know this, I can actually save time searching or come across alternative suppliers I haven't heard of before.  

Let's set aside potential worries over data abuse; personalised and targeted ads can now actually enhance the media experience.

So, I encourage everyone who works in marketing to do the same as me and ditch the blockers.

Dominic Shales is managing director at Lexis

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