This blog is not ad supported. It does track you, for which I hope you will forgive me, using WordPress Stats. If that bothers you — and it should — please install the ghostery extension. But it is not ad supported.
I believe this gives my visitors a better experience. Obviously, your experience is enhanced by the lack of distracting advertisements screen real estate being used to display things that are hopefully more valuable to you. But there’s more to it than that.
When you visit my blog, you can read each article on a single page. You don’t have to click through three “next page” links because someone wants to maximize their ad revenue. Further, my articles are (I hope) concise and to the point. I have no incentive to add irrelevant details to an essay in order to increase the number of pages you view. So you can read my thoughts and get on with your day.
More subtly, when you visit my blog, you can be sure that every article contains information that I consider to be valuable. I don’t write content-free essays with juicy titles to attract ad impressions. My visitors are not cattle whom I milk for ad revenue.
I started this blog over three years ago because Judd Vinet, founder of Arch Linux, had suggested I do so. I was just getting started in freelancing, and he said I’d be amazed how many clients can come out of a well-written technical post that happens to get top rating in Google. This has turned out to be true. In this light, the blog is itself an advertisement, showcasing my skills as a programmer, and more recently, as an author. Nowadays, I write articles, not so people will hire me (I’m actively hiding from head hunters), but so they will see those links to published books, gittip, and flattr on my sidebar.
I also write articles as a contribution to open source projects, both by promoting or introducing those projects to the few thousand visitors this blog receive per month, and by providing tutorials or instructions for them.
And I write because I can’t help writing. I am keenly aware of my audience, and thus the process is rather interactive. I write about things I believe you will find interesting. I want you to keep coming back, not just to use my open source projects, not just so you’ll tell you’re friends about my books, but because I want to keep writing articles you will read.
One of my more popular articles, bizarrely enough, has been the CSS popups are annoying rant I wrote three years ago. I notice that there are far fewer CSS popups today than there were back then. I’d love to take credit for that, though I have trouble being that vain. In that article, I suggested boycotting all websites that use CSS popups. Today I’d like to suggest a few additional actions we can take to stop advertising from ruining our internet experience:
- Use adblock and ghostery. Not just to protect your privacy and improve your browsing experience, but to send a signal to the entire internet that you are a human being, not a product.
- Avoid any site that display articles in multi-page format. I have a few worst offenders remapped to 127.0.0.1 in my
- Avoid sites that consistently publish content-free posts with juicy titles.
- Start supporting non-advertising income streams for individual content creators. This can range from financial contributions via sites like gittip or flattr to purchasing or subscribing to products the author has posted for sale to simply writing a review or recommendation promoting their product or content to other people.
I’d like to close with a message for you to pass on to those people whining that ad blocking cuts into their advertising revenue:
If your soul purpose in writing a blog is to make money off of ad revenue, stop writing and find a true passion. While you are making a few dollars or maybe a few hundred dollars a month off of Adsense, Google is making billions of dollars. Yes, you are being used, and yes, you are being cheated, but not by the visitors who are blocking your ads.
Advertising, especially targeted advertising, is a huge industry right now, but I believe and hope it is going to die. People are learning that word of mouth is a much more reliable way to discover a product than advertising. Businesses are switching from advertising to discovering subtle ways to manipulate users into doing the advertising for them. Further, people are becoming more educated about how big businesses are abusing them. I’m not the only one that is sick of being treated like a product instead of a customer.