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posted by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @09:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the ads?-what-ads? dept.

An anonymous coward writes:

"Three weeks ago, video game reviewer and online columnist Jim Sterling used his weekly "Jimquisition" video column (warning: NSFW) at The Escapist to address 'the ever thorny issue' of viewers using ad-blockers while watching his content.

As Mr Sterling relies entirely on ads on The Escapist and his YouTube channel for his income and isn't exactly known for pulling punches regardless of topic, it may have come as a surprise to many that he expressed considerable understanding for those who choose to block ads [transcribed and slightly censored by the submitter]:

"No, I don't like it when someone views my work with Adblock, but I get it. I absolutely understand it, and I find it hard to judge anybody who does it. If I'm p---ed off at anyone, it's the advertisers; those reckless buffoons who brought up intrusive pop-ups, auto-playing video ads, and those f---ing banners with the smileys that scream "SAY SOMETHING" at you.

'There is this horrible cycle in place, if you didn't know, where the less ads that get viewed, the worse the ads are, because the less scrupulous commercial companies will go after the more desperate venues. What this means is, the more you ad-block, the worse the ads actually get.'

After asking his viewers to 'kindly consider' viewing his videos with Adblock disabled (and expressing some considerable distaste for those who publicly state that they block the ads and still insists on criticising his work), Sterling willingly conceded that ads on web sites can represent a real problem for users:

'When ads break web sites, when they ruin your browsing or are offensive to you on some level, how the hell can I blame you for wanting to obliterate them? I can't!'

Whether one likes Mr Sterling's videos or not, he no doubt has a point. Ads are the only available source of revenue for many web sites and content producers, but they have little or no influence over the kind of ads the ad provider serves through their site. As we all know, intrusive ads can significantly degrade the browsing experience and even be a malware vector. Besides asking their users to please endure potentially obnoxious ads, are there ways for web sites (like, say, SoylentNews) and content producers to make money from advertisements?

The story ends with an interesting twist: For those who wanted to support him but just couldn't stomach the ads, Sterling briefly published the URL to an Amazon wishlist as well as his P.O. box address at the end of the video. Last week he revealed that although he had done so in jest, several viewers had indeed sent him gifts (from 7:02 onwards)."

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by darinbob on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:17AM

    by darinbob (2593) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:17AM (#20727)

    I actually find it very strange in some ways that "how the hell am I supposed to make money at this otherwise?" argument. Ok, I may be a bit naive. But maybe one does not need to make money at it? Maybe I'm old enough when I remember when the internet was not about commerce, and I remember when advertisement revenue was not the overwhelmingly most important focus of high technology. Maybe write a blog that has interesting things to say because you want people to read what you said, or comment on it, start a discussion, you know... the whole democracy thing.

    Ie, on soylent/slashdot/whatever, I don't think the commenters are out there asking for payment.

    This vaguely reminds me a bit of early PC days. I had come from Unix and VMS with minicomputers where people exchanged tapes for the cost of a tape, and the Amiga world with lots and lots of stuff for a minimal cost to reproduce. Then on the PC I saw the model flipped, and almost everything was shareware instead, and the sort of shareware that said "I wrote this to learn how to program, if you used it you now owe me $15", or nagware, crippleware, and all that other stuff that said "give me money, I don't do this for the fun of it!"

    Granted I am a cheap bastard, but I do pay for some software. I'm even paying for my free antivirus, and I am one of the 12 people in the world who payed for Netscape Navigator.

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  • (Score: 2) by everdred on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:36AM

    by everdred (110) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:36AM (#20790) Journal

    Just to be clear, I'm not in favor of SoylentNews going this route, or suggesting that they do so. Just answering the question posed in the summary...

    But your point is well-taken.

    • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:42PM

      by Open4D (371) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:42PM (#20921) Journal

      I am in favour of text and/or static image ads on Soylent, for non-subscribers. (I would subscribe.)

      But it doesn't seem efficient for individual websites to be negotiating all that stuff with individual advertisers. I'm assuming AdSense [] only gives you money if you serve up content that they host, and which you have no say in. So, are there any competitor ad agencies that take a different approach?

      Even an agency that does host the ads on your behalf but promises (through contractual obligations) not to track the recipients (victims?) of the ads?

      It wouldn't surprise me if the answer is no, and if the most hassle-free approach is just to have no ads whatsoever, despite potentially serious financial implications. But if so, I'd find that slightly regrettable - not just for Soylent, but in general. As much as I want to simply pay for what I use rather than rent out my eyeballs in exchange (and I wish other people would do the same), I do suspect that there would still be a useful role for advertizing to play, funding things that otherwise wouldn't get funded. Some ads are even mutually beneficial.