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In my book, it's no longer a question of ethics, at least not directly. Way back when, we all agreed that if I look at some ads, a web site will let me view some content. Fair enough, it's a proven model and though I might not particularly like advertising, I'll trade some eyeballs for some content. Way back when, maybe it _was_ a question of ethics. But not anymore.

What "we" didn't agree to was being tracked all over the web, malware being shoved down the pipe via ads, ignoring "do not track", and all of the other nefarious things ad networks have been trying to get away with. Ethics have gone out the window, if ethics ever existed on the side of advertisers. So I run an ad blocker, and I make no apologies for doing so.

"What about the little guy who pays for hosting with ads?" You mean the "little guy" who has to scrape couch change to pay for the site that contains his latest post about artisanal mayonnaise and her latest gadget acquisition? Yeah, that $100/year for hosting is really going to break her, might not be able to get next year's Apple Watch on release day.

The big boys and girls like The Verge and what have you? Well, using The Verge as an example, they could go under tomorrow and IMO the world would be no poorer, given that they've kind of turned to poo in recent days. I blame the web advertising model for part of their deterioration, but that's a long digression. Specific examples aside, what about the sites I like? I pay money to the sites I like, specifically Ars Technica, NYT, and the Economist (and some others I'm sure I've forgotten about). Some, like Daring Fireball, use unobtrusive, single-image ads that I'll occasionally click on because they interest me, as well as a desire to reward a job well done.

But at the end of the day, the whole thing isn't my problem. If a few bad actors (or, in reality, a lot of bad actors) want to crawl into my machine and have their way, I'm blocking all of them. If there's collatoral damage because of some bad actors, it's not my job to fix it. I did my part and said, "no, you don't". Don't lay the onus on me to play nice, because you're berating the wrong party.


This site is a great one to look at in terms of the ad ecosystem. The ads are (typically) not that bad and very targeted, and the content is fantastic to the sub-genre of people looking at it. The admin there uses, reviews, and runs give-aways for products he actually likes and wants to advocate for. True, the site is never going to make billions or even millioons, but it is enough for his needs.

The issue is that it takes a lot of work to build that with your community and ad partners. You have to make a lot of phone calls and write a lot of emails. You have to have consistently good and timely articles. Your content and audience have to be managed. Big ad firms do not have the margins to do this and are forced into blast ads.

Many other commenters here mention that the ad ecosystem is up for a change, much like pop-ups a decade ago. Perhaps a more curated environment is going to appear for a little while.

So, just for example, loading artofmanliness.com allows 14 different third-party companies to track your browsing history. There's more to fixing this than just putting in work to manage ad inventory -- we need a system that doesn't depend on broadcasting private information to dozens of anonymous companies.

People subscribe to podcasts. Why couldn't people subscribe to his site (for a trivially small payment) and get access to one new article per week? (Or access to 50 articles for a set period of time.)

If the content is good, then people will be willing to pay for it. That's how books work. That's how, for example, wikipedia works. That's how newspapers work (although of course many have been failing).

I'm not saying the site is perfect, rather, a more appropriate use of ads and how they are displayed. This is to counter the auto-playing pop-ups you can never seem to exit from and only mis-click on.

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