Last year, while traveling through eastern Asia, I would occasionally drop by an internet cafe. I couldn't believe the amount of ads non-ABP users had to see. It still baffles me.
I don't mind banner ads or text ads so long as they are neither deceptive (mixing ad content with real content or masquerading as such) nor abusive (flashing! look at me! you're the 1 millionth visitor! tiny dismiss buttons, or worse, no dismiss buttons!)
The idea is that either you look at some ads, or you pay directly for content. Moral or issues of principles aside, that's simply the way it will go. Personally, I choose to look at ads instead of paying for content, but that's a personal preference.
If you don't like paywalls it would benefit you in the long term to turn off adblockers for sites that "behave".
This is also how most technical books are paid for. Most technical book authors make a small fraction of what they could make as contractors from writing technical books; yet the books still get written... why? Reputation. Nothing improves your reputation quite like being a widely read.
Now, I agree that this model doesn't work for, say, big-budget action movies and for many (maybe, as you say, most) other media types.
But, these people working for "free" have always been a big part of the press; I don't think that writing has ever paid particularly well, except for a few at the very top.
There is a corporate equivalent to this that dominates the trade magazine industry. Corporations write something very much like a press release advertising their new product, and send it off to a writer for the magazine, who publishes it, perhaps with a few changes, as if it were a story. Hell, speaking of high-budget action flicks, BMW did something similar a while back; they released a series of short action films that featured their vehicles. Being something of a fan of action films myself, I rather enjoyed them, even though they were obviously commercials.
 Thinking more on what "more media" is, I'm starting to come around to your position. Now, I certainly spend /more time/ consuming media like blog posts or technical books where the author was primarily remunerated in terms of an increased reputation compared to media produced for the money.
However, even if you say I spend 100 hours reading tech books or blog posts for every 1 hour I spend watching big-budget action flicks, that one hour of action movie probably took more human hours to produce than the 100 hours of tech book or blog post. Of course, if you measure the the cost of production divided by the number of people watching it, then it's possible that the flashy action movie was actually cheaper to produce than the tech book, I mean, per human hour spent watching the thing.
Fine for small blogs who don't make much money from ads anyway, but won't work for pro-site with big teams and big expenses.
Eh, I think that what value the newspaper houses will have going forward mostly has to do with their reputation, and how they can give legitimacy to a story or author, and how they keep the worst of the dregs out so that us consumers don't need to see them.
As for video news content, last time I was in the cafe with CNN that I frequent, the story (a missing white girl puff piece) was cut with shots of a video camera focusing on a computer monitor that was reloading twitter. I guess I'm not really a video news kind of guy, but I'm not really seeing how an enthusiast could do worse than that. Maybe I haven't spent enough time watching TV news to see the good stuff, but as far as I can tell, it's a wasteland.
Now, video entertainment? the commercial publishing houses still have that sewed up tight.
I'm not sure I follow you. How is reputation supposed to pay the bills? If the newspaper/site can't sell ads anymore, how do they make money?
> As for video news content, last time I was in the cafe with CNN that I frequent, the story (a missing white girl puff piece) was cut with shots of a video camera focusing on a computer monitor that was reloading twitter. I guess I'm not really a video news kind of guy, but I'm not really seeing how an enthusiast could do worse than that. Maybe I haven't spent enough time watching TV news to see the good stuff, but as far as I can tell, it's a wasteland.
Sure there's tons of crap, but that goes for everything. 90%+ of anything is crap, including books, etc, but what about the good part? How do they make money on reputation? That's what I still don't understand. If you are a consultant with a blog, that makes sense, it drives other business. But if your main business is content creation, how does it help if nobody can sell ads and very few can make a living with high subscription fees.
there are all sorts of ways to earn money from reputation, some being more shady than others.
One path is the public broadcasting model. accept donations from people who support the work you do, and the low cost of distribution becomes an advantage rather than a disadvantage. (would this be sustainable without the government support that NPR gets? I don't know. I'm given to understand that we may find out shortly.)
Is there a conservative equivalent of NPR?
There are all sorts of other ways you can transform reputation in to money. For corporations, the line between buying advertising and giving to charity is quite blurry; there are all sorts of underexploited opportunities along those lines. Sure, people block banner ads, but the 'paid for by corporation X' link or announcement? I think that can create real credibility and real goodwill. My company has spent more money supporting things I want to be associated with than on banner ads because I think it's a more effective way to advertise.
By using an ad-blocker, offensive websites become less annoying.
Let me put it into context: for every website featuring offensive ads you can find well-behaved websites with similarly or even better content (expertsexchange versus stackoverflow). By using an ad-blocker, you're rewarding the websites with offensive ads or business models - your traffic is still valuable as (for example) you may pass links around, or they may just serve you with commercials hidden in the actual content.
Personally, if a website bothers me that much with ads, then I stop using/reading it. Made me find better content too. That's why I won't be using an ad-blocker any time soon.
By giving traffic to an ads-based websites, you're generating revenue for them even if you block their ads.
Even if you're not paying them directly, that's "voting with your wallet" in my book.
I don't consider fine print buried in a footer that I "implicitly" agree to to be an actual contract.
On a serious note, I've also pulled out my hair waiting for TechCrunch to load. My solution is to hit Esc as soon as the main content is loaded (or use RSS instead).