What is your opinion on ads on the internet (or just ads in general)?
I’m probably a minority here because ads don’t bother me. I don’t mind native advertising (I prefer it to AdSense honestly), and I let the YouTube ads play out because it supports the video creators that spend their time making free videos for people to watch.
People on Reddit specifically seem to despise ads. They’ll literally do anything they can to not see an ad. Then they get pissy when websites sell their info (guess what? If you didn’t block ads that website is less likely to sell your data. The company I worked for never sold user data until adblockers became popular). Malware in ads on reputable sites is a total non-issue. AdSense has something like 600k “bad ads” of the billions, maybe trillions of ads they serve a year. (I should mention that it’s fair to block ads on sites that aren’t reputable or are sketchy).
Ads keep things free, and the more Adblock is used the more aggressive sites become to users and the more data they sell.
Tildes is obviously ad-free and doesn’t sell user data. It’s a noble idea but I don’t see it taking off without a large amount of users (most who will NEVER donate, I won’t be, sorry). I’m also using Tildes less and less because I still see the same Reddit-like bullshit that happens on larger threads.
Anyway, what is your opinion?
Side question: what do you think is the future on Internet monetization?
My issue has never been with the advertising itself but with the culture of compromise that comes with allowing it on your site. From an old comment of mine here on Tildes:
IMO advertising (and venture capitalism) is antithetical to sites that genuinely care about their users.
I see that sort of cynicism a lot and I honestly don't understand it. To be self-sustainable doesn't actually require a whole lot of money, especially if you design your site well which Deimos is doing IMO. Server costs are already covered by donations. That is what happens when you design your site to be extremely light-weight and don't rely on CDNs. Now, at some point a donation drive is going to be needed so Deimos can actually start taking a wage and ideally continue to work on the site full time, but as he has said in the past, the worst case scenario is that he finds some contract work and treats Tildes as a side-project while he does. So Tildes already is "working" despite not even being out of alpha yet.
And IMO the reason reddit isn't "working" yet (as far as sustainability) despite being so popular and heavily trafficked, is because they are hundreds of millions of dollars in the VC hole, have a super bloated site, rely entirely on CDNs and cloud computing, now have hundreds of employees, don't allow telecommuting and have their HQ in the highest cost of living city in the US so wages need to be commensurate and competitive to that area. Which is also precisely why you are seeing such a huge push towards maximizing retention and eyes-on-ads time with the redesign... the investors want their money back with interest and they're getting tired of waiting.
I have already donated. Because I believe in the service.
Not a fan of advertising as it currently exists. Modern advertising is psychologically manipulative rather than strictly informative, and I think this has negative social side effects. I would much prefer it if sites moved to funding themselves through a combination of subscriptions, and using visitor's hardware in some standard and agreed upon manner, like mining crypto, leasing CPU cycles to distributed computing projects, or offloading hosting in some P2P scheme.
One idea I have is companies (like Reddit, Twitter, news websites) reach deals with partners and that the ads are served as JPEGs for units of time or unique page views.
If you're going to run ads, requiring that they be served as .jpegs or other simple image formats would be a wonderful improvement over current trends. It would make the ads less obtrusive (which is why advertisers would never go for it) and much less resource intensive. But I have fundamental problems with advertisement as an industry and would prefer it not be used for funding at all, as opposed to the other solutions I mentioned in the earlier comment.
That's traditional web advertising and what reddit tried to do for most of its life (until the last few years). Nobody's very interested in doing the work or paying for that style of advertising any more.
That said, and not defending ads, Reddit's approaching a scale at which it can dictate terms.
I don't agree on the mining crypto thing. It sounds great in theory, we all use a site and our computers will just help out with the costs but I find it hard to believe that even with 100,000 users that the ROI with crypto mining would pay off.
Also, why is it psychologically manipulative?
I admit, I'm not 100% sure what the cost breakdown for advertising is. For banner ads that run on sites like reddit, I'm operating under the assumption that we're talking maybe a tenth of a cent per view or less; if that's the case, then crypto mining would definitely be competitive. Of course, that was just an example and not necessarily the most cost efficient one, the point I'm trying to make is that there's billions of computers that sit mostly idle while browsing the web, and they represent a readily available untapped resource that could be used for funding in lieu of advertisement.
Hoo boy, where to begin? There've been whole books written on the subject, I'd read up on Edward Bernays if you're interested in the topic. To provide a basic and oft cited example, a lot of advertising for women's cosmetics are based on the cultivation of unrealistic standards of beauty and feelings of inadequacy that can supposedly be remedied through the purchase of a product. That sort of strategy writ large leads to the current state of affairs, where people's group biases are played off, their social worth questioned, and so on, for nearly their entire waking lives, all in an effort to get them to do one thing: consume. That can't be good for the mental health of our society at large.
The Century of the Self is a BBC documentary on Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays (an advertising pioneer and also Freud's nephew), and the history of manipulating the masses through propaganda and advertising.... if you prefer that to reading wiki articles, @AVo. It's super long but well worth watching, IMO.
Interesting. I'll definitely read into that. I can understand why women may be bombarded with images of what they "should" look like and it may impact their mental.
If you had to make an adjustment to current advertising (ignoring which ads are more effective) are you looking for a straight "by the facts" style? Ex: Lotion - Does this, this, and this. Now on sale for $X.xx
It's not just women, it's universal. For example, back when advertising cigarettes was more prevalent, smoking would be portrayed as correlated with masculinity and maturity.
And yeah I think that's about the extent of permissible advertising: informing people that a product exists, and of its functions. If a product is truly exceptional, it'll get any additional exposure it deserves through word of mouth.
I'm not trying to say that only women get effected by marketing. I only mention it because of your example of cosmetics.
What would be somewhat interesting if ADs were voted on by the community whether or not they are "acceptable".
Found that book on OverDrive! I'll give it a read.
The ROI is effectively 100% (ignoring dev time to implement/maintain the feature) so why do you think crypto-mining wouldn't pay off? I absolutely loathe crypto-mining at the conceptual level and think it's a massive waste of electrical power, but even I have to admit the idea of totally opt-in crypto-mining (perhaps even with the ability to set what CPU % you allocate to it) as a means of supporting a site passively while you browse it, and especially as an alternative to advertising, is a seriously promising one.
Yeah I'm not a fan of cryptomining either, I'd much prefer leasing out CPU cycles to someone doing useful work rather than the digital equivalent of revving your car's engine. I just brought it up because browser based miners already exist and are probably the lowest effort way to use visitors' hardware to make money.
Also I hadn't seen that documentary you linked in your other reply, it definitely looks interesting and I think I'll give it a watch.
Yeah, folding@home gets all my spare CPU cycles during idle periods on my computer, but I definitely wouldn't mind throwing some Tildes way while I browse it, especially if it helps keep the site operational and provides Deimos with a proper wage for all his hard work.
Totally offtopic, but I'd been meaning to do folding@home but had forgotten about it, so thanks for the reminder! (It's one of the projects I plan to cover on my citizen science blog, if I get around to starting it...)
I'll rephrase what I meant. You're right. (I think? I have no in-depth knowledge on how difficult that would be to implement). What I was getting at is I don't think cryptomining would give as much $$$ as we think. It would be "free" money for the developer but I think it would also clash with the current sites design. Slim and lightweight.
Also, would it be mining only on desktops? Or would mobile devices apply too? Because that would suuuck. Use so much battery and data(?) for a site that is essentially just links and text.
I don't speak for everyone but I would prefer a yearly fee. ($5-10?) I would hope that the price barrier would keep alot of trolls off the platform.
From what Deimos and others have said when this idea was discussed previously, it's not difficult at all to implement. And if it's entirely opt-in (meaning disabled by default and which IIRC Deimos already stated it would be if he ever decided to implement it) then I don't see it as clashing with the site principles one bit. Nobody would be forced to mine while they browse, it would have to be explicitly enabled by them as a means to support the site, and even then could just as easily be disabled if they switched to mobile and were worried about battery life of their device.
Do you have a link to that thread? I'd love to be able to read up on the conversation a bit more. And you're right, an opt-in style would give a choice or when users want to "donate" their time. Keeping mobile users happy while giving desktop users a chance to help out.
I wonder how much a non top of the line computer would generate with a full 24hrs.
Ran the numbers for Monero based off a few benchmark sites and profitability calculators. If we're assuming you can only do CPU mining, it ranges from around $0.03/day for high end mobile and low end laptops to nearly $0.50/day for your typical gaming desktop.
I don't even remember where it was discussed since it was ages ago, and I don't even think it was in a tildes.official topic so tracking it down might be difficult... I am also lying in bed using my ipad to browse Tildes right now, which makes it all the more difficult. :P But I can look for it tomorrow when I am back on my desktop.
edit: I tried to find the discussion and could only find a few tangentially related ones. It's possible it didn't occur on Tildes and instead was in /r/tildes, Slack or somewhere else. :(
All unwarranted advertising is mind pollution --- billboards, internet ads, magazine/newspaper ads, pamphlet pushers, and so on. I don't mind trade magazines, Steam, Yellow Pages and the like; these are opt in and unobtrusive.
Internet ads are the worst because they are spyware. I wish ads would just go away.
If you need to cash to run your site, consider: paying out of pocket from your day job; merch; patronage; donations. Or maybe something new.
I understand the "something new" is easier said than done and that ads are the easiest way to go, but the amount of advertising that we are subjected to on a daily basis is dehumanizing. I try to express this to people and they have no idea what I'm talking about.
I think the funding model with the most potential as a drop in replacement for advertising is using a portion of visitors' processing power for distributed computing. It's unobtrusive, and a massive untapped resource; consumer hardware spends the vast majority of its time idle.
I could support this, as long as it's transparent. In particular, I don't want a website destroying my mobile battery. I also would want to know what I'm processing --- I wouldnt want to support password cracking, say, but scientific computing would be fine. So there needs to be some way to verify what code they're running, and maybe some tools to tweak.
I can imagine with some browser integration this could be slick.
Are there any websites / services which currently do something like this?
Salon has been experimenting with it, I don't know if there's been any info about whether it's going well: https://www.salon.com/about/faq-what-happens-when-i-choose-to-suppress-ads-on-salon/
There's a few crypto projects (not miners). The one I know of is Oyster. It's kind of complicated and I don't really understand it but if you really want to look into it just google oyster pearl crypto.
If your business model is advertising, the internet is better off without you.
But then Google wouldn’t even exist. People will disagree with me, but Google has done a lot of good for the internet.
Even the founders of Google were completely aware that advertising was a corrupting influence and originally didn't want anything to do with it. Here's the paper they wrote at Stanford in 1998 introducing their approach and prototype of Google search: http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html
It has an entire appendix devoted to explaining why advertising would ruin Google:
It sounds like you're willing to let the end justify the means. I disagree. Any alleged good that Google might have done is tainted by its reliance on advertising for revenue and by its anticompetitive business practices.
Google is a cancer. We do not allow cancers to fester because of the good they once did as healthy tissue. Instead, we carve out as much of it as we can and bombard the rest with chemicals and radiation to ensure the cancer neither recurs nor spreads throughout the rest of the body.
Google must die for the good of the market.
That's incorrect. Putting ads on your page is selling data, for on almost all websites, and all major websites I've interacted with so far, ads come from a third party, via scripts. Even if the script did nothing malicious, even if it was a JPEG not any script, it's a 3rd party connection done by my computer, and I don't want that. Ad servers aggregate data and sell them. They use that data to profile people and target them with certain ads. And they have that data, obtaining it through the agency of ad-ridden websites. You browse X on website Y, then go to Z some time later, have an ad about X.
I can tollerate the following types of ads: unobtrusive ads that don't steal my time (say the banners in YT videos, cf. video ads which I'll never tollerate), that are hosted on 1st-party servers (i.e. serve your ad, no 3rd-parties), and that are not heavy-weight (I block elements >1mb by default, and no JS please; GIFs in text are an offence to humanity); and affiliate links. Blog articles etc. if they are not completely unsubstantiated ads. Product placement if it's product placement, but if most of your content is about that then you're stealing my time, the rest of the content is basically clickbait. Also, sell me actual things, like interesting merch, related products or subscriptions. Anything else and it becomes exploitation. Maybe I watch one video and hate it at the end, why my viewing it should help the author financially? Maybe I'm referred to a racist rant and just look at it to see what sort of disgusting thing it is? Why do I have to support it involuntarily?
I fully support the right of site owners to serve up whatever content they feel is in their best interests to serve.
That said, I exercise my right to filter or interpret that content according to my own best interests on my own device. And I go to great lengths to block ads, social buttons, tracking pixels, to counteract browser fingerprinting, and generally neuter whatever manipulative/deceptive/objectionable content I don't want to see, with prejudice. All web users should recognize their responsibility to protect themselves and curate their experiences online, because no one else is going to do it for them. I don't owe my time, resources, or attention to anyone I haven't explicitly promised them to.
If a site goes out of its way to make such a bad user experience that it's frustrating my efforts (think adblocker-blockers or misleading native advertising) I'll leave and find a comparable site that better respects me as a person and not a metric to monetize. I'm not going to feel guilted or cowed into playing along.
If enough people do what I'm doing, sites will get the message and either follow the market signal or die. Either way that's a win for me. People fearmonger about how ad circumvention will destroy the web and frankly IMO that is a web worth destroying. Something better will rise up in its place. Consumers paying for services they value, that are designed with the consumers' best interests in mind, is not a radical concept. I think it's inevitable that the paradoxical incentives of the current popular "free" model will fail.
I hate ads. I've hated ads since I started using the internet in the mid to late 90s when adblockers weren't around. I can't remember when I first started using an adblocker (I think it was around the same time I started using Firefox when it first came out) but I do remember noticing how clean websites looked without ugly ads everywhere. Since then, I've always used adblockers.
I've had to help family members several times who have gotten viruses from ads, so I always make sure to install Firefox or Chrome with Adguard on any new computer a relative gets. So not only do adblockers clean up websites, but they're also an essential part of staying virus free.
Using the internet without an adblocker is like dipping my hands into raw sewage.
One thing I wish all sites did was say 'based on overall usage of our site over the past 90 days, your usage costs $xx' with a link to cover that cost. In
$xxinclude everything, salaries, etc --- all the money projected from ads.
Reddit has something similar, but not perfect
As it stands, I block ads. I end up buying reddit gold, chipping in a few bucks here and there, etc -- but I really don't know how much my favorite sites need from me to stay on track.
Its rare that an ad slips through, but when it does, I'm rarely interested in the product. With some sites I'll allow the ads to come through because they don't offer a way to donate (typically hobby sites.) I'll click an ad or two for the sake of it, but I never have any intention on exchanging money on the sites linked.
e.g. lets assume that tildes cost $500 per month to host and to provide some extra cash for those helping run it. We've got ~6668 users, but lets assume that only 2/3 are active -- round that to 4400. This napkin math gives me ~$3.50 per month.
Ultimately, I just want the option to pay for what I use on the internet.
My ideal solution is to track the sites I go to (just by domain, not by specific pages). I put $x.00 in my account each month, and with my usage that money is split up. If in January I only visited NYT for two articles, they may only get $0.05, but if I spend a lot of time there in February, they would get more.
This system would allow the user to contribute as much or as little as they can afford, and sites get paid accordingly.
In my utopia the tracking is done at the browser level and is never viewed by a third party -- whoever is diving up the money would only receive the percentages.
Last year I was helping a friend with her slow laptop. It was the first time in a long time that I saw what the internet is like without an ad-blocker. Its disgusting... everything is slow. Youtube ads just don't make sense. I'm surprised anybody without an ad-blocker bothers to use it to listen to music.
It's time for a change. My utopia may not be the answer, but its the best solution for me.
Have you looked into Brave or Flattr? Brave especially is very similar to your utopia.
FLATTR!! That's the one! I was using that for a time with a few communities, but they stopped accepting it.
I've looked into Brave. The concept is on the right track, but when I was looking for a list of publishers, the sites I view didn't match up.
I really believe that this concept is the future, though.
I'm using Flattr myself, currently on a $10 a month budget. I wish more publishers would accept it, but at least a lucky few get to split my 10 bucks every month.
Brave seems to be doing a better job at recruiting publishers, but I feel like using digital tokens is too much of a hassle. Users have to buy them at an exchange, publishers have to sell them at an exchange. With good old fiat money I can just add my credit card details, and publishers can log in to withdraw their funds to their bank account.
definitely. The key will be a seamless, automated transfer that is appropriately divided on an x-term bases.
There's a browser extension that does this. I can't quite remember the name off the top of my head but it was posted on tildes a little while back.
I'm sort of in the middle when it comes to ads. I use an ad blocker but I disable it on YouTube and webcomic sites to support creators I like. I also sometimes watch ads on Twitch for free bits to give to my favorite streamer. Outside those specific places, I find ads annoying and don't like the way they clutter search results. (I once downloaded malware-ridden Firefox from an ad at the top of some search results because I was way, way too tired to notice all the very obvious signs. Definitely more my fault than the ads, but... I hold a grudge.)
I've been slowly working on starting a blog, and I'm not sold on the idea of ads from that end, either. It doesn't seem like the revenue would be enough to be worth annoying visitors, at least when you're very small. Affiliate links or a Patreon at least give readers the option to avoid interacting with your attempts to make some money (although I doubt they are any more profitable at a small scale).
I don't hate the concept of ads. I do despise what they have become.
At this point I view ads as if they are outright baldfaced lies meant to sell me garbage I don't need that doesn't work and exists only to bilk suckers out of their money. That's my 'default' mental starting point upon viewing any product or service. Your product is shit, your service is shit, you're trying to rob people, you should be locked up, and if you had anything that was actually worthwhile you wouldn't need to advertise for me to find out about it. Advertisement is proof of criminality and incompetence, basically. :)
Perhaps I'm just a bit cynical about advertising. I prefer user reviews and rants, preferably those found in low-profile forums where nobody is being paid to clutter up the reviews with more baldfaced lies.
Show me the ads that exist in a world where a single barely misleading statement in an advertisement gets the company sued out of business overnight for libel/slander/whatever, and perhaps I'll change my mind. Until honesty is back on the table for advertising, I'm not interested in it.
I hate ads with a fiery passion. I do everything I can to remove them from my life. This includes ad-blockers sure, but it also includes other pay-for-content methods like a Google Play Music subscription that also includes Youtube Red for ad-free music and videos. I stick to netflix, hulu, and amazon for most TV/movie media. Hell, when I'm watching sports on broadcast TV, I'll mute the TV during ads.
I fully understand that most of the internet is ad-driven, but my perspective on this is that I'm not responsible for your revenue. If you can't survive without shoving ads in every bit of open space, then you may need a new business model.
Unfortunately, this attitude has been built up over years of being force fed loud, bright, animated, obnoxious ads and so I do not see a possible solution to reintroduce ads into my life.
/rant off :)
Adding to the above, from four years ago, I've since realised that advertising:
I have heard all of the stuff before the addendum, and agree with most of it. But I am interested in your new points, specifically 3 and 4. Could you expand on those?
See DwightMcDonald, "A Theory of Mass Culture" (1953) (PDF), Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totaltarianism, and Gerry Mander's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, for starters.
Malicious ads are certainly in the minority from legitimate ad servers. However, even legitimate ads can be hijacked by taking control of any of the numerous redirects the ads send users down. Once one of the redirect addresses has been compromised, you get an authentic ad that is now malicious. As far as I am aware, this is not at all uncommon. In addition, even if the personal data isn't sold, it is collected, and companies simply cannot keep this data secure, so it will end up in a bad actor's hands after all.
The only ads I do not block are DuckDuckGo's, which iirc serves up a static ad for whatever you just searched, and not your search history, with no logging or data collection, and with the option to turn them off entirely. Still, I keep a very close eye on the situation.
Ads are okay but the massive invasion of privacy just to try and target ads to people is frankly disgusting. I don't like major ad networks and think a more personalized approach of purposefully seeking out ads that you know are relevant to your users would be better.
Unless you can pay a creator/service directly, I feel they're necessary. Youtubers who do it for their job need money, some websites need the revenue to keep alive. I'm totally fine with ads unless they ruin the user's experience. Unfortunately, quite some time ago, it was decided ads must ruin the user's experience so I decided to use an ad blocker so I can actually use the internet, but I disable it for sites I support.