There's an interesting article on Ars Technica about how blocking ads is somehow unethical, and "devastating to the sites you love". The idea that I have a moral obligation to stare at an advertisment, the thought I have an ethical obligation to voluntarily annoy myself for the sake of a company's profits... it would be hilarious if it wasn't so repugnant.
Let's talk about ethics. How about some ethics for businesses?
- Stop making the world a garish and hideous place to live by flooding it with ads.
- Stop trying to grab my attention, evoke emotional responses in me, manipulate my mind, and trick me into spending money on crap I don't need. This is what advertisement is. Stop disrespecting me and insulting my intelligence. Stop viewing me as an anonymous, money-spending piece of cattle.
- Stop trying to track my every move online. How many people understand tracking cookies? How many companies make it clear that every click is being recorded and data-mined? How is this ethical?
Here's the state of the world today: I can't drive down the street without seeing billboards everywhere. The radio is literally 25 to 50% ads, which is why I don't listen to the radio. Television is what, 20 minutes of commercials per hour? Which is why I haven't had television in 6 years. Newspapers and magazines are saturated with ads, and of course I don't read them either. Even then, ads are nearly unavoidable.
(By contrast, books (for example) are awesome. I pay for a book, and then I read the book start-to-finish with no ads, no distractions. A few pages at the back maybe, but I can ignore those. Books are nice.)
The internet is also a wonderful thing. FIRST a person or company puts a lot of information somewhere that everyone can read it effortlessly for free, and THEN they sometimes expect me to look at their ads. And I can simply choose not to.
If you want to force me to look at your ads, make me sign a contract or consent to an agreement before you display your site to me. Otherwise I owe you nothing. If your business is about to go bankrupt, and your business is so important to me that I want it to stick around, I'll give you money. Real money. I've done it before. But I will never give you my attention for free. No business has a right to that.
Businesses are not your friends. Businesses are not ethical entities. Businesses do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Businesses exist to milk you of as much of your money as possible. The only sane reaction for the average person is a similar one: I want to deprive businesses of my money. I want to get as much from them as I can, while giving up as little as possible.
If I politely suggested that it's "unfair" for a business to have such a huge profit margin, and "if they cared about their customers, they would lower all their prices", I'd be laughed at. Why would a company do anything less than the absolute most they can do to bleed money out of me, after all? I laugh at any business (e.g. Ars Technica) which says the same thing to me. I will bleed you of product, as far as it's legal to do so. It so happens that advertisements are devastating to my well-being. Up to this point I have rarely read Ars Technica, and from now on I'll make it a point not to. If I do read it, I will block ads with the greatest feeling of malice I can manage.
I run my own website(s) at a loss specifically because I'd rather pay out of my own pocket than force people to look at ads. Admittedly my sites are so small that it's not much money. But there you have it. If I had to generate revenue to keep my sites going, I would find a way other than advertising to do it. Or I'd shut them down.
I love my ad-blocker. The only thing better would be an internet where I didn't need to use it.