You've seen it, the make-you-feel guilty popups and notices on websites asking you to stop blocking ads. I know writers and people who have worked in online media, so I am empathetic towards their cause -- I also wish that the model was more sustainable. But like, I'm done.
What's annoying is the blame in shift from the content producers to the consumers as to why I am blocking ads. Why are you trying to make me feel guilty? You can't preach to me about how you're trying to make a living and then throw megabytes of trash into my browser and shady-at-best privacy (if any). It used to be that the reader and the content producer had a sort of contract. You provide content, and I'll deal with ads so that you can pay people to make a good service. But it's gotten so bad that I refuse to do this anymore.
I'm done feeling guilty, browsing the web (especially on mobile) is awful. I'm tired of chumboxes, unmoderated/spammy comment sections, and most of the default web experience these days.
So what's the solution?
I instead prefer to directly subscribe to content. Technology is great, and has helped me save a ton of money, so I strive to financially support good content. I'm going to use my breakdown as an example, after all, it all depends on what you're into.
Let me break down my web subscriptions:
- Ars Technica - $3
- PBS Eons - $5
- PC Perspective - $5
- Gaming on Linux - $10
And then, I have moved to directly paying for software that would usually be ad-driven:
- Hey! email - $99 a year, so ~$8.25 a month
- YouTube Premium - $12 (As a bonus you get an ad-free music subscription too)
That comes out so far to $43.25. The average cable bill is $217. That's $173.75 you can do anything you want with, throw some at more websites (that would be a lot), invest in some open source subscription services via github/patreon, or just pocket it.
I've also noted how much more video content I can consume on YouTube when there's no ads. A good portion of the shows I follow (especially the tech ones) know how to do a sponsorship ad that takes 20 seconds, might have affiliate links for the items they review, or sell things in their stores. Why else would I buy a modmat if not to support a good content producer directly? (Ok there are lots of other reasons to get a modmat)
Also, can you believe the average cable bill is $217? That's a car payment! To be fair I didn't count my video subscription services in here -- I tried to mostly keep it to web but I left YouTube in because lots of good technical content resides there that has effectively replaced web for me.
What about everyone else?
Into the black hole you go! Obviously there's no problem using websites from things you already pay for (like your bank website for example), but most of it can go into the blackholes, if I see something good I try to pay for it, otherwise:
(Note to readers: Cable was a common service in the 90's/00's)