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blog: Don Marti

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What's so bad about the pay to avoid ads model?

14 January 2019

A lot of people have come up with the idea of a system that lets readers of a web site pay to avoid the advertising. This is obviously bad, wrong and dangerous, for several reasons.

  1. The model assumes that advertising is unredeemably awful, and walks away from future revenue that would be made possible from fixing advertising. (So far, Online Ads Haven't Built Brands, but what if they could?)

  2. The model creates incentives to make advertising worse. Ever since we started running the auto-playing video campaign for MIRACLE ASS FUNGUS CURE, our subscriptions are through the roof! Bonuses for all!

  3. Because the ads on news sites will keep getting worse and worse, non-subscribers will get more and more of their news from biased sources that re-report and spin it. (The most common sound effect on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, last I heard it, was him flipping the pages of the New York Times as he selectively quoted from news stories.)

  4. As soon as site owners realize that number 3 is growing, and won't go away, they'll start lobbying for extensive copyright expansion laws that limit fair use, or create new exclusive rights. Freedom-hostile companies will repurpose these laws for censorship.

‘A daily, hourly fight’: Digital ad fraud is worse than ever

NOT Predictions for Digital Ad Fraud in 2019

Advertising Activism Has Impact

Journalists are rightly suspicious of ad tech. They also depend on it.