The New York Times has an interesting pro-and-con piece, but the bottom line is most effectively summed up by the plugin’s creator:
“There is only one reliable way to make sure your ads aren’t blocked — make sure the users don’t want to block them,” he wrote. “Don’t forget about the users. Use ads in a way that doesn’t degrade their experience.”
That means no flashing whack-a-mole banners, no large (especially animated) ads smack in the middle of newspaper stories, no goofy dancing mortgage guy, and the like. Advertising is useful to a degree, but when it reaches the point of saturation and irritation, people will either abandon the medium or find a way around it.
A few months ago when I ran for re-election, I did purchase a couple of online ads. The local daily, however, had eliminated the ad space that I really wanted (tastefully off to the right side), and could instead only offer a larger ad that showed up in the middle of the page. I specifically asked that the ad NOT run in the obituaries — this being offensive to me, even without friends or family listed therein — but of course, it showed up there anyway. And I received complaints.
AdBlock Plus does allow for customization, allowing the user to exempt certain sites. Google ads, for example, are non-intrusive and often helpful, so I’ve exempted Google from ad blocking in my browser.
Best of all, like all Mozilla products and add-ons, it’s free.