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Stop Hurling Stones At Advertisements

Just looks like loads of ads on the left sidebar to me. Closes and returns to RSS reader.

It isn’t a quote by any great person. It’s a comment by a reader on a design blog. This comment forced me to revisit an old question: Why do people hate advertisements?

If a blogger writes interesting articles for its readers for free consumption, that doesn’t mean that the articles written by him cost zero. They have a cost attached to them—the total cost of the blogger’s time and energy consumed in creating and managing the blog.

The blogger is not billing the reader, but he needs to be compensated. A blog can’t survive if the blogger doesn’t get compensated for her efforts. How do you expect her to pay her electricity bills? What about the broadband connection? Her food?

To get some compensation for her efforts, she sells space to advertisers who are interested in introducing his product to more people and attract customers. If all readers see ads as a nuisance and opts to disable ads through some browser plug-in or switches to RSS feeds which do not have ads, there won’t be any income from advertising.

Now, what are the options available to the blogger for getting a compensation for her efforts in writing and maintaining the blog? She can just stop writing and do something else that gets her some bucks. Or, she can start charging the readers.

Who gained from the death of advertisements? No one. The blogger wanted to give the stuff for free so that it could reach a wider audience. Her reach becomes zero if she stops writing or shrinks drastically if she starts charging money. The reader will either not get the content or will have to pay. And, the devil, the advertiser, will not be able to attract new customers.

Shouldn’t we try to be more sympathetic towards ads and see them as facilitators? Yeah, I agree there are some websites that cram websites with ads, but most good websites know that they need to maintain a balance between advertisements and website usability. Let’s try to accept advertisements as a necessary evil and stop hurling stones at them.

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