Sometimes, a technological advance kills an entire industry. Like CD's killed vinyl.
Could ad blockers be about to kill online advertising?
For many websites, who rely on selling display ad units, the situation is highly concerning.
On the typical gaming site, for example, ad blocking rates now top 50 percent, according to ad tech firm Secret Media, while those for fashion and lifestyle sites are close to 35 percent.
The phenomenon is worse in some countries than others - only 15 percent of American users, for example, are using ad blockers.
But what if the Americans catch on?
There are signs they are about to. Online searches for the term 'ad blocker' are rising rapidly.
I am a long-time advocate of advertising, and of the value of advertising. (That website you like? It's almost certainly funded by advertising).
I personally would never install an adblocker, and I think the technology is close to being immoral, because it creates a 'free rider' problem - people benefiting from web content, without paying its creators. It's akin to piracy.
In fact the business model of AdBlock Plus is arguably comparable to piracy; they earn their income from charging big companies for an exemption from ad blocking - a characteristic that had French web publishers contemplating legal action against them.
We have to be honest about the forces that are driving uptake of ad blockers. They are brilliantly summed up in this article by Tom Goodwin - the same guy who wrote this widely-read critique of Cannes.
Goodwin points to pre-roll ads that insert themselves midway in articles, ads for Mercedes vehicles that are seen before beheading videos, pages that take forever to load because they're swamped by cookies and content the user didn't ask for, articles on websites which “welcome” you with bogus welcome screens and where pop-ups barge their way past browser settings.
Some of his solutions are so innovative that he feels obliged to describe them as 'thought-experiments': they include the idea that web publishers could reduce online advertising inventory to one-tenth of its current size, and use only premium spaces.
But his main recommendation - and one I wholeheartedly agree with - is very simple.
Create better ads.
When the ads are of at least decent quality, consumers will be more happy to accept the trade-off (I get free web content, in return for seeing some ads).
At the moment, the amount of time and money being invested in creating online advertising is far too low.
The targeting capabilities of online advertising are incredible, and far exceed anything possible in traditional media. Now it's time the creative bar was raised too.