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On the morality of blocking web ads

On the morality of blocking web ads

Tim Finin, 1:00pm 10 September 2007

On the morality of blocking web ads

In the NYT’s Bits blog (Business, Innovation, Technology, Society) takes up the question of whether blocking web ads is a good thing or not. Web sites that many of us read and enjoy daily are supported by ads. They range from the sophisticated and professional MSM sites down to the smallest lone bloggers who hope to cover the cost of hosting their site. The Bits post, The Morality of Blocking Ads, points to note that appeared on Daily Kos yesterday

“If you use ad blocking software while viewing Daily Kos, you’re getting all the benefits of our site but we’re not getting any of the advertisement revenue associated with your visits. This site relies on ad revenue for daily operations: a decrease in the number of ads seen means a decrease in the funding available to run the site, to pay those that work on it, and to create improved site features. We won’t stop you from using ad blocking software, but if you do use it we ask you to support Daily Kos another way: by purchasing a site subscription. … ”

It’s hard not to be conflicted about this. On the one hand, a site like Daily Kos requires the full time effort of a handful of people as well as some serious bandwidth. If the ads are displayed, you don’t have to read them right? Besides, if they are selected based on their relevance to the site’s content, which you are interested in, maybe they will be of interest? On the other hand, I fear that commercial Web advertisements are in a slow race to the bottom where it will be all Cialis and Lunesta, all the time. Besides, advertisers have taken a first step out onto the slippery truthiness slope and we all know where that ends up. And if you run your Web site or blog as a business, will you be willing to bite the hand that feeds you? Maybe not if you have a mortgage and a family and aren’t getting any younger.


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