Saturday, November 9, 2019

Unpopular Opinion: Ad-Blockers bring down the quality of content and resources on the Internet by taking away the incentive from content creators

In general, most people hate it when they see Adsense ads on the internet, so they install blockers which block these ads. They do this in order to stop being "nagged" by ads. They also hate it when an open source project on github asks them for donation, again they don't want to be "nagged" by them so they simply press the "I don't want to donate" or "I've already donated" button.

The problem with this kind of attitude is that content doesn't come for free, especially good quality content. The people who painstakingly write code for open source projects or post articles in public domain do so with a cost of time or money or sometimes both.

Unfortunately, the world we live in is filled with greedy capitalists today, nobody wants to fund and provide patronage to the small dude or the netizen out there who really needs the money to pay their bills and survive. Neither the Jeff Bezos or Elon Musks sitting in their high rise buildings, nor the average audience or user of an open source product who blocks these ads.

Before deciding to install an ad-blocker in a browser next time, think about all the pain a writer undergoes in order to come up with the content you are enjoying, think about the years of technical education she puts into learning a programming language or library or framework to build the open source app you are using.

This is the responsibility of each and every netizen out there, everyone. If we don't do this today, the world will be filled with only mediocrity, no genius mind will ever be inclined to write a line of code or a paragraph of literature and put it out in the public domain. It will be a world filled with only paywalls and exorbitant license fees. As a community, we should be ashamed if the world is moving towards such a situation.

The best thing about charity in today's world is that you don't have to be a Bezos or Gates in order to do it! Even a single dollar donation to a FOSS project does a lot of good to the developer if enough people do it. And if you don't even have a dollar to spend, then all you have to do is remove the ad-blockers!

Digital publishing in the public domain works on a kind of honor system - the content publisher expects that the least her audience will do is consume the advertisements which are funding her published works, if not provider her with an outright donation. If you do none of this, you are essentially breaking this honor system of which we are all a part of (both consumers and publishers of content). By breaking the honor system, you are killing any and every incentive to fund yourself in case you decide to publish anything tomorrow. So, do yourself a favor and uninstall that ad-blocker today!

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