At a lower level, I do this job because I'm paid, which allows me to donate.  But I wouldn't do this work if I thought it was harmful; there are lots of different kinds of jobs I could take.
That link only works if we buy into the premise: "One way to think about this is, what would the world would be like if we didn't allow advertising? No internet ads, TV ads, magazine ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, product placement, everything."
However, no. I don't buy that premise at all. The state of ads as it is now is actively harmful with very little to show for in terms of "new non-stickier products" etc.
What about ads, but static and not-tracking? Is that still equally negative? Is that still equally positive?
Coincidentally, my current project involves this Chrome proposal for supporting self-contained remarketing ads without individual tracking: https://github.com/WICG/turtledove
Yeah, but what about no tracking at all? What about getting rid of "remarketing"?
Since you are here:
> The question is, what is the alternative? I see two main funding models: Paywalls. You pay with your money. Ads. You pay with your attention.
- people pay what they feel like?
- the patreon model, where some enthusiasts pay for the content producer, but everyone get access to the product of the work?
- (for social media): "influencers", power-users and media companies pay for the service and get a quota of "free accounts" they can bring along?
> producing most of what there is to read requires more money.
Wikipedia does not pay its editors and it seems to work without being only a "hobby".
Also: is most the content "that is there to read" worthy of the money and resources they receive? Content farms, celeb-gossip and listicle "journalism" only gets to exist because the are playing for quantity, not quality. Remove ads from the equation and they will certainly die a well-deserved death.
> Micropayments (...) many proposals and startups, but nothing has really worked out.
Brave is growing (over 30 MAU already, projecting to get 50M by year's end, over 1M registered content creators) and it is showing that a tipping economy can work. Would you go work on it?
People defending an "ad-funded internet" think they are enabling democratized access to good quality content, but in fact what happens is that they are enabling a whole lot of people to make a living of essentially producing sewage. It's as if McDonalds was able to actually offer their crappy food for free and people were applauding it for fighting hunger. It artificially creates externalities and makes it next to impossible for people to pick winners that "should" win in the market.
I know you believe that you have the best intentions at heart, but at this scale there simply is no way to make anything more efficient than a direct, transaction-based market that could match producers and consumers.
A parallel to the demise of the newspaper classifieds is the once thriving industry of people who would copy books by hand in the 14th century. Then Gutenberg created a printing press that could make copies of books in a fraction of the time. Life didn't get better for those folks who's skills were no longer needed, but maybe it did for society as a whole. But for sure it didn't and doesn't make sense to vilify people who work at printing presses.
You're looking for a "bad guy" when maybe none exists.
The number one newspaper killer is... Craigslist.
Also the general move away from paper printed and delivered every day to internet news delivery.