I rarely agree with Farhad. In fact, I normally vehemently disagree with him. But I always say its better to be loved than hated, but better to be hated than ignored. He's got readers and is generating a response so I guess he's doing something
right. Most recently he seems to suggest that my tech savvy should be keeping me up at night.
No, not spending the wee hours in pointless IRC debates. He thinks I'm breaking the unspoken social contract of the internets by not loading ads that content providers have so lovingly chosen for me. I'm sorry, I meant to say "spread in a haphazard manner like bear traps covered with feces". Yeah, I don't think much about most of these ads.
The argument goes that since some online publications rely on advertising revenue to cover their costs, people using ad-blocking plug-ins, himself included, are like airline passengers taking fuel out of the 747 they intend to fly on. That is, it is unethical to block ads on pages you visit. Bull.
Firstly the author's metaphor doesn't really fly. We're not passengers siphoning fuel out of the plane, Slate is asking all the passengers who board to give them some fuel. There's a difference between stealing and not donating. If fees were mandatory there would be a pay wall.
Second, by his logic, not only are we unethical if we don't load
the ads, Slate doesn't get paid if we don't click
on the ads too. So we must all read and click on ads even if we are not interested. And having advertisers pay for click-throughs if we don't intend to buy anything isn't ethical either, so we all have to buy anything that advertises on a web page we read. (I don't have any paid advertising, although there is a store
link right over there! ---->)
Farhad seems to blame us for not wanting to be constantly assailed and only briefly mentions (too little too late in my view) the concept of making advertising better
as opposed to more invasive. As consumers have more control over their media and more options for gathering information advertisers need to find a way to make their messages not just "not annoying" but desirable
There is a difference between tolerating advertising and seeking it out. Targeting messages is a good first step, but as algorithms progress I may end up seeing a sea of advertisements that are equally applicable. Which, if we're not careful, could lead to another 'most annoying ad' contest. The trick is to make consumers want
to see your advertisement. If an ad man can make me back my Tivo up to see his message he's done his job. The rest is just filler.
Labels: advertising, farhad, slate