Hey guys, I recently took down all ads off this website and closed my Google AdSense account in protest against Google and the ad model in general. I only made a few hundred dollars per year off ads, so it’s not a massive sacrifice, but I feel like I’m doing my part.
Lately I’ve strongly felt that the ad model is doing serious harm to the content that is produced on the internet. It encourages safe, mainstream click-bait instead of high-quality, honest content. Some examples include:
• YouTube is de-monitizing any videos that could be considered controversial to appease advertisers, including video-game violence, swearing, and discussions about the news or politics. A lot of videos are also flagged falsely. For example a video providing help for suicidal people would be flagged as controversial as it’s related to a controversial topic. I’ve noticed that even harmless fail videos are censoring swearing. This is a bad direction to be going if you want a diversity of content to be produced (which I’m assuming YouTube is no longer interested in, despite this being a major advantage it had over TV).
• News websites are printing any garbage that will get clicks. They produce the most addictive headlines and site layouts, keep users outraged over petty nonsense, and do whatever it takes to keep users on the site longer to see more ads. I feel like this is doing major harm to public discourse as the most outrageous articles will always get the most exposure.
• Many ads are just outright scams or otherwise malicious. There’s obviously no quality control going on when ad space is being purchased. I often see ads like “Get Minecraft for free!” or “Try this new bullshit health supplement!” and other obvious scams. I’m assuming these are effective otherwise they wouldn’t be appearing.
So my recommendation would be to use an Ad Blocker (like uBlock Origin) for your own safety, but also to discourage platforms like YouTube and Facebook from bending over to the demands of advertisers. F.B. Purity is also a good chrome extension to block most of the garbage on Facebook.
If you can afford it, throwing a few dollars at your favourite creators on Patreon will do them more good than watching hundreds of ads will. Free stuff is great, but I feel like a couple of dollars isn’t a high price to fight back against the harm that ads are doing – and also to save you the time wasted on them.
And a final note: Short, high-quality content in particular doesn’t do well under the ad model. Stuff like animation or well-researched videos. Those don’t get a lot of clicks relative to the amount of work put into them, and it’s most important to support the creators of works like these through donations.
That is all. Thoughts?