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ironically, image hosting sites being crap was the reason imgur was created in the first place. turns out you have to pay the bills somehow

And most of them were crap because of mess, noisy sites with intrusive ads.

The basic problem seems to be that the web has a trust issue, not between users and services. But between services and advertisers.

Until that trust issue is solved, so that sites can bring ad hosting under their own domain rather than embed unsupervised ads from third parties, there will be no end to this runaround.

That said, inhouse ad management do not always do a good job either. Right now i have Reddit ads killed because i got tired of having some rotting face glare at me from the sidebar just because i visit the odd gaming sub-reddit from time to time.

Do you think it's possible to create an ethical ad network? It's something I wonder about at least once a month, but I'm not sure if it could compete.

There was one that I recall: The Deck, which shut down recently [1] after more than ten years. Could be seen originally on sites like A List Apart where its ads were small, felt relevant and were of good quality (they had a limited monthly pool of decent brands and artists that used them last time I checked).

I actually liked them, though after switching to uBlock Origin years ago I'd forgotten about the network and to whitelist them, sadly.

[1] http://decknetwork.net/

> Do you think it's possible to create an ethical ad network? It's something I wonder about at least once a month, but I'm not sure if it could compete.

I'm highly skeptical, in that I believe the nature of ads makes this inherently unfeasible.

The point of ads is to be seen by as many people as possible. In dramatic terms, you could say the purpose of ads is to invade your mental space against your will on behalf of product makers. How could that ever be ethical?

That aside, ads also present a conflict of interest for content makers. You want your site to be nice and high-quality. But you need money, so you put up ads and comprise on the aesthetics. You want more people to see your ads so you're tempted to make more content, or arbitrarily divide your content into smaller pieces (fighting the end user's ultimate desire which is to peruse your stuff).

And then there's the whole "biting the hand that feeds" problem. I personally don't believe anyone showing ads can be truly objective regarding them. So maybe Google is evil, maybe not, are you going to turn down their money either way? Most smaller ad networks seem shady to me.

I think this seemingly theoretical problem is why ad blockers are still on the rise, going so far as to be baked into browsers (Brave on mobile is awesome). Not only do people dislike ads, I think they don't trust advertisers, and I think most users nowadays are aware of these ethical conflicts at least on a semi-conscious level.

In short, this is why I've personally made a promise to myself never to rely on ads. Maybe that means I can't get rich off of "killer apps", or even earn a living. But part of me believes that anything useful is worth paying for, so I'm focusing on building something useful.

Edit: Didn't mean for this to turn into a rant. Oh well!

> I think they don't trust advertisers

Considering malvertising is a thing, attempting to spread malware through ads, users shouldn't trust advertisers.

I don't just run an ad blocker to prevent annoyances, I do it to increase security.

There is projectwonderful, which is serving ethical ads and has a uncomplicated bidding method (bid for a day on a website).

They're explicitly on all my adblocker whitelists since their ads only amount to a PNG image with a link.

The advertisers know where they are advertising, the site owners can control who advertises, the payment is transparent and everyone is happy.

Wow I haven't seen Project Wonderful in a long time. Good to know they're still around.

No. See http://www.cluetrain.com/ - paid advertising is inherently unethical on a network where genuine mass interaction is free.

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