Why you shouldn’t ad-block and ideas for better ads

Non-ad from reddit. Note the link for ranking underneath it (that is also used for real ads).
I really do get it: Many ads are atrocious and there are often too many many of them. But currently ads are the only way that free content on the web can be financed. So if you like free content, you probably should not block ads. An alternative to ads are voluntary micro-payments for content [1, 2], but they are not yet a viable source of income and never may be.
Instead of ad-blocking everything by default, I suggest the following approach:
  • By default, don’t ad-block.
  • If a site goes overboard with ads, block them on that site.
  • Better than blocking Flash is to deinstall it, because then its absence can be detected and non-Flash ads can be served. Gruber explains how to do it on a Mac, while keeping around Chrome for Flash content.
A few ideas for improving the ad experience:
  • Animated ads should be opt-in, I have never found a single one I liked. Web pages should not be like Harry Potter newspapers. Currently, deinstalling Flash mostly takes care of this, but it won’t be long before non-Flash animations become more widespread.
  • Rank ads. This would allow us to make unpleasant ads go away and give desirable social feedback to advertisers. Digg has such a system for advertising on its site. As does reddit. The reasoning is: If we have to put up with ads, we should be given the opportunity to influence what is shown.
Related posts:
  1. Flattr or how to finance web content
  2. Readability: a service for decluttering web pages and donating