Those with some professional or profit-driven or political/ideological motives can well afford to advertise on broadcast media. They may put up expensive websites and dream of wealth - can't stop 'em. I quit TV because of advertising, and so I really don't appreciate them following me around and whining. STFU or GTFO.
P.S. Want some money from me? Support micropayments.
Contrast with the masses of vapid ad-filled sites whose pitiful excuses for content only exist to drive traffic towards them, are also highly SEO'd and engineered to grab attention, and thus show up unwantedly in a lot of searches.
“This town needs an enema!”
I've said for a long time that I'd rather see something that functioned much like Facebook does (or did, rather, maybe 10 years ago) but was completely supported by subscription. Let me pay something like $5/month and in return no funny business, no stupid manipulation to get more page views, etc. Just a place I can interact with friends and family.
But nobody would pay for that, even if that's basically what they pay for it indirectly through the products they buy.
Define popular? How about a billion hits?
Figure four servers for static HTML/CSS, maybe add CloudFront or similar if heavy on images or progressive download video, and 10 servers for dynamic personalization/transactions, for a billion personalized/e-commerce hits a month.
A billion hits averages to under 400 reqs/second, which you could handle on a single Pentium running Apache on BSD in late 90’s. Make it a bell curve, account for surges, 4 modern boxes is still comfy headroom for static stuff.
If hosting content is prohibitively expensive you could be doing it wrong. Try not firing up script interpreters and ‘frameworks’ per hit, use a static site gen CMS. If dynamic, spend time nailing caching.
If you make enemies, though, you're screwed - a good protection against DDoS attacks can be terribly expensive.
Those all cost money.
I was not talking about media generated as placeholders for ads (sports, ‘news’, and reality television come to mind, as does click-bait).
The problem is that most of the time, ad-supported websites become experts in creating clickbait and lose their ability to create content that worth any money. It is the ads that are killing the ad-supported web, it is a race to the bottom.
Depends. Some websites have a hybrid model where they have a free tier and a subscription tier that removes ads. I think that works well provided the free tier isn’t too invasive about the advertising.
What the internet really needs is a standardised format for “tipping” for content. I’d be happy to send a little money to a website that I visit without having to subscribe or put payment information in.
Especially true of something like the newspaper. I don’t actually like the NYT or Post as businesses enough to subscribe, but in the rare occasion they actually publish some worthwhile journalism rather than “let’s interview some idiots and see if they still like Trump” then sure I’d pay whatever an ad click is worth for that.
It's also a challenge because with all of these modular services, it's hard not to start feeling like your bank account is getting the death by a thousand cuts routine.
Sure, it's annoying when I can't read a NYT article because I ran out of my 5 free articles. But is it enough for me to actually pay? No, I'd rather just read the HN comments as those are free and usually better than the actual content in the article.
People pay reasonable amounts for good service. The NYT’s online subscriptions are booming, Netflix seems to be doing alright, and there are many others. What can’t survive is a model of asking for too much, or drowning out content with ads.
Content makers have been using the web for over two decades, and figuring out how to do it profitably as well. There are innumerable models for doing it, but it requires putting in the leg work to actually care about how your work is supported. Sure it's seductive to think that someone working in some "noble" pursuit should be able to avoid having to do that, but that's not really true of anyone anywhere, why should it be true of content makers?
I also want to believe in that but all the data seems to show the opposite. As a niche blogger, what I hopefully believe is that there is a reachable sweet spot with less intrusive ads and good content. Good content in the long term can't be free, it's Economy 101, nobody will spend days creating great content for half a dozen pennies no matter how passionate they are about something. People want a reward, no matter if it is more work opportunities (technical blogs) or cash. For me it was a monthly dinner paid by my content. This could keep the "troops morale" high. Does new content is lowering in quantity and quality? Unfortunately yes.
Most fellow HNers are militant against ads (even if many get a sallary from them) and I am too but as an amateur content creator I can recognise the problem. Do I use adblockers? Sure I do but only on annoying sites and not in all of them. By default it's switched off.
Even in today's web Information IS largely free and not ad supported. It is entertainment ("content") and communication that costs a lot of money to support and hence either paid or ad supported.
> Is it wrong that I don't particularly care about supporting the ad-based web?
Most people in the world can't pay for entertainment content or even Google search if you charge it's true cost. Most countries have per capita income in the range of a few thousand dollars a year. Even China is sub 10k dollarsa year. Hence ad supported models.
The web's ad industry is nothing short of amazing. A small number of users started using ad blocking software when ads became obnoxious and intrusive, flashing, spinning, spawning popups and obscuring the content they're supposed to accompany. Did the ad industry take a hint? No, they moved, en masse, to ads that were more obnoxious and intrusive. Then they started exploiting browsers to discover as much personal information as possible about users, which motivated even more people to install ad blockers. Then ads became one of the most significant vectors of malware, so people started adopting script and ad-blockers as standard safe-computing practice.
It's reached the point where I would not allow either my parents or my children to run a browser without an ad-blocker installed. That's how bad it's gotten.
Ad providers have had years to establish ways of delivering safe, privacy-respecting, non-intrusive, content-specific advertising. They haven't, and the rising use of ad blocking is the natural consequence. The demand from people running websites should be there. Maybe space devoted to an ethical ad provider would make less money in the short-term, but anyone can see that ignoring the rise of ad-blocking is going to hurt their bottom line down the road.
Ads just work in print media. They don't jump out of the corner of the page and cover up articles while flashing and making loud noises. They don't invade your privacy. They don't damage your property. Online ads need to advance to this state. The onus is on ad providers and those employing them to accomplish this, not on users to uninstall their ad blockers.
> "Ad blocking software allows Internet users to obtain information without generating ad revenue for site owners, potentially undermining investments in content."
Good that it uses the correct words, like "potentially". I wish we could have something that talks about the user experience, by saying something like, "Most of the sites that run ads are usually obnoxious, drain mobile device batteries and data quotas, track and profile users, spread malware, mine cryptocurrency using the user's resources and are potentially a threat to the entire web and humanity as a whole!"
> "We explore the impact of site-level ad blocker usage on website quality, as inferred from traffic. We find that each additional percentage point of site visitors blocking ads reduces its traffic by 0.67% over 35 months. Impacted sites provide less content over time, providing corroboration for the mechanism. Effects on revenue are compounded; ad blocking reduces visits, and remaining visitors blocking ads do not generate revenue."
I'm confident that the reduced visits are only because of ad-block killers on the websites and the generally poor quality of content on the sites (most "news" sites today regurgitate something from another site with little or no value addition to the context). Such sites don't deserve to be supported by users unless they provide a lot more value.
> "We conclude that ad blocking poses a threat to the ad-supported web."
The ad-supported web is a threat to the web itself. So this is actually good in some ways. Yes, we don't have viable, accessible and cheaper mechanisms for people to support all the sites directly (without involving crooked and malicious ad networks). But the publishers who don't care much for their users don't deserve to be supported. Period.
An anonymous New York journalist, quoted in Hamilton Holt's
Commercialism and Journalism, 1909.
Holt didn't attribute the quote, and I'd not attempted to track it down.
Unless they provide some mechanism by which adblockers cause people to stop visiting, they've reversed cause and effect. Bad sites get worse and lose users.
I value the security of my computer and the amount of mental space I have been gifted with too much to clutter them with bit-crap and visual-crap. Besides, advertising has become an adversarial and manipulative industry. The more unwanted influence I can cut out the better.
But lately, ads and tracking have become so egregious that the content is often not worth the hassle of awkward, obstructive ads and very creepy tracking.
So, lately I’ve switched my browsing to a mixture of Chrome/Mobile Safari vs. mobile & desktop Brave browser depending on if the account I’m using browses political/monetizable material.
Next I need to investigate Basic Attention Token to see if it actually does present a reasonable alternative to ads that makes content creation viable. Don’t know yet...
> First, ad blocker usage by a site’s visitors reduces the site’s revenue if at least some of those users would have visited the site in the absence of ad blocking. The relevant mechanism, as in the traditional literature on the relationship between intellectual property revenue appropriation and supply, is that reduced revenue may undermine a site’s ability to invest, which could manifest itself as a diminished site that is less appealing to potential visitors. Web users then visit the degraded site less, reducing the site’s traffic.
> Second, in the presence of ad blocking, a site’s remaining revenue-generating visitors are less ad-intolerant, leading the site to run more ads, increasing the nuisance cost of visiting the site.
"Copyright has become the single most serious impediment to access to knowledge."
"Today we recognize that knowledge is not only a public good but also a global or international public good.We have also come to recognize that knowledge is central to successful development. The international community, through institutions like the World Bank, has a collective responsibility for the creation and dissemination of one global public good—knowledge for development."
"What the academic publishing industry calls 'theft' the world calls 'research'."
It's far beyond time to recognise that 1) Copyright is not the solution, copyright is the problem, and 2) that creators of valuable creative works need to get paid, somehow.
The intersection of these two statements gives a corollary: Payment for access to knowledge is a net harm to society. Which means that we must find an alternative method of finance. Salon's misguided plea here is not that solution. A general tax, proportionate to wealth and/or income, strikes me as about right.
The quotes above, respectively, are from:
Nina Paley, artist and animator
Pamela Samuelson, copyright legal scholar, UC Berkeley
Joseph Stigletz, Nobel laureate economist
Edward Morbius, Space Alien Cat