The ethics of ad-blocking
Shane Richmond blogged this week about newspapers and paywalls - a topic to which we all seem wedded at the moment, whether proposing them or naysaying them. Something caught my eye in the comments, which I initially filed under "unintentionally funny". Truth's Revenge said:
"'How will the Telegraph make money?' is a more pertinent question for you - display advertising? - I already have a firefox add-on that blocks it all. Once more people realise this software is out there display revenues drop significantly."
They then went on to add:
"I think advertising needs to become much more appealing for readers to click on. But apart from that I'm running out of ideas! "
My inner voice chimed in with "but you aren't looking to see if that has happened, are you!"
I have to say that I've never run ad-blocking software or plugins myself.
I can't really claim some consistent kind of moral high ground on this. I can be a bit of a freetard when it comes to software, and I long ago tired of the music industry's ham-fisted attempts to claw money from me via multi-formats that meant I had to pay over and over again for the same material just to get one or two new tracks or mixes.
However, I don't block ads on a personal principle.
To my mind, if I'm being given free content on the basis that it is being paid for by advertising, then the least I can do is make sure that the site is able to properly and accurately audit how much advertising they served.