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I've always considered the assertion that quality content is only created if there is financial reward to be a flagrant lie.

Expectations of ads fully supporting websites are relatively new even to the world wide web, let alone the internet. 10 years ago, you might at best hope that your ads would offset a bit of the websites hosting costs.

The really good content is put up by people who are in it because they care about the content, not the money. The same is true of software.

My experience is that if you are offering quality, you either give it away for free, or insist on up front payment.

Pay by ad, pay by data and in app purchase are all business models of people who want money and don't care about the content, but know their product isn't good enough to sell.

There is certainly a lot of great content created by people doing it for the love, but love only gets a person so far. To do real in-depth reporting takes quite a bit of time, way more than anyone but the independently wealthy have at their disposal unless they are working (and being paid) as professional reporters.

Consider the work on the Snowden files. Snowden handed his huge collection to professional reporters, who then spent weeks and months carefully reading it, confirming what they could independently, working with experts to understand what was most important, working with lawyers to understand what they could and not publish, and finally, writing and editing the articles.

Or consider investigative journalism pieces like the work that revealed the problems at the U.S. Veteran's Administration, or the Washington Post's series on civil asset forfeiture:


The Post and other news operations need to make money somehow, so that their reporters can afford to spend the time to keep doing this work. So far, ads are the only revenue source that seems reliable, although a lot of news ops are experimenting with online subscriptions as well.

Ok, but on the other hand consider the remaining 95% of content created by news sites, which is lies, clickbait, and total&utter crap. I very much apperciate investigative journalism for both the entertainment value and the function it provides to society - but that's a very, very small part of what gets published in papers, and the rest of what gets to the front pages of news sites is what makes them an example, not an exception, of my rule.

I applaud the work of professional journalists who care about stories they do and providing value to the public. So I want to support them, but not the other 95% published under the same banner. Because seriously, I get much better value from HN and Reddit comments, which not surprisingly, are both free and written by people who care.

I think there are probably far more people who will create crap content for financial reward than there are people who will create quality content for donations.

and in that case the higher the barriers that are placed between them and the user, the better. vive le ad blockers.

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