Are You Willing To Pay For An Ad Free Internet? Most Say No - HotHardware
Are You Willing To Pay For An Ad Free Internet? Most Say No

Are You Willing To Pay For An Ad Free Internet? Most Say No

News is out today of a survey from video advertising platform Ebuzzing claiming that it would cost an average of E140 per year per UK citizen to pay for an ad-free Internet and that the majority of users (98% of them, in fact) would never, ever be willing to pay such fees.

I'm not surprised by results like this -- if someone asked me "Would you pay $185 a year to avoid pop-up ads?" my first thought would be "No, I'd install Ad Block" or "No, I'd just avoid the websites that show obnoxious ads I don't want to see." According to Ebuzzing's results, that's precisely what most of its respondents do.

There is, however, a more interesting facet to this question. What would I pay to not be tracked online? Toss that into the pot, and the value changes.

An Ever-Growing Web

Edward Snowden's leaks broke the wall of silence on the NSA's activities, but commercial companies have been trading in a steadily expanding stream of online information for years. If you've ever searched a travel website for flight details, you've probably seen ads for air travel popping up a short time later -- sometimes within minutes. Target was roundly embarrassed last year when an irate father called the company demanding to know why his daughter was receiving ad flyers and offers congratulating her on her pregnancy. Target's automatic data mining algorithms had identified her as pregnant based on her buying habits -- and inadvertently disclosed that information to her family with its automatic targeted mailers.


Facebook has also worked on tech to track what you don't post -- and where your eyes focus

Facebook and Google are working on technologies that can automatically identify subjects in pictures, automatically identify where the picture was taken based on its background, and automatically tag individuals without requiring their consent. Police departments across America are partnering with commercial databases that scan and store license plate information in multiple states and across the country, thereby creating an effective map of where people travel at all times. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to affix a GPS device to a vehicle without a warrant (United States v. Jones), but creating a database of everyone who happens to be driving a vehicle in public? That's somehow legal.

Think about that. Affixing a specific tracking device to a vehicle is illegal unless you've got a warrant, but creating a system that tracks everyone (whether suspected of a crime or not) is somehow legal. It's the same flimsy justification that the NSA has leaned on, arguing that surveillance doesn't occur until a database of information has been searched as opposed to merely collected.

Amazon, Facebook, Google, and other data aggregators present friendly faces and privacy guarantees, but the heavy lifting is done by companies like Acxiom, Datalogix, Experian, and Transunion. These companies are intensely secret and often refuse to divulge key information on how information is collected or how it gets used. These companies don't just target you for advertising -- a 35 page Senate report released last year illustrated how data brokers actively use their work to sell information on low-income vulnerable populations who are most likely to take advantages of services like payday loans.



From the conclusion of that report:

Consumers going about their daily activities -- from making purchases online and at brick-and-mortar stores, to using social media, to filing for a professional license -- should expect that they are generating data that will end up in the hands of data brokers. They should expect that this data may well be amassed with many other details about them that data brokers already have compiled. And they should expect that data brokers will draw on this data without their permission to construct detailed profiles on them reflecting judgments about their characteristics and behaviors. [emphasis added].

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there aren't very many people who'd be willing to pay Google, or Facebook, or any other service to butt out of their personal lives and actively stop collecting vast amounts of personal information. Obviously the logistical problems of ensuring this are enormous -- would one pay every company separately? Who would ensure that data collection had actually stopped? How would untracked users be kept that way when they interacted with tracked customers?

It's an impractical idea for a host of reasons, but as a thought experiment? I'd cheerfully pay $200 a year to stay off the grid. It's astonishing to me that people continue to take the attitude that "Well, they aren't doing anything wrong," when so little information is available on how online data is smashed up, combined, and sold across the country. It's the same attitude people took towards the NSA until a whistleblower stepped forward and demonstrated that the NSA was doing things that a great many people took issue with. Post-Snowden, there's no reason to extend this kind of trust to any corporation.

Anybody else?
0
+ -

All I can say is if you ad block you are biting the hand that feeds you.

-1
+ -

Are you willing to pay $200/year for unlimited legal access to ALL intellectual property and copyrighted content? Most say yes.

0
+ -

Not sure I understand the angle you're getting at, Brian.

+1
+ -

I already pay 80 bucks a month for my internet and phone,so probably not.

0
+ -

Correction, Scott. You're paying $80 a month for internet access and broadband. The content you consume, however, comes to you essentially for free because advertising, just like on any other medium (TV, Radio, Print) pays the bill.

+1
+ -

Dave, I understand your point of view especially when it comes to your own HH. But there isn't a single reason for me to see ads I never click on anything I never read it I just X -close it out any way. There are also ads that are harmful to your PC or are phishing scams. It is just better all around to block ads.

+1
+ -

That's where you're wrong sevags. Actually just viewing a page with an ad on it, even if you don't click it, helps drive revenue for any/all sites. If you click an ad that is relevant to you, it helps drive more revenue. And yes, there are junk ads out there but that's on infected sites and low quality sites. Google will and does penalize sites in the search rankings that are compromised or compromising readers with malware driven from an ad. Any ad you'd see here has gone through a huge traffic network weeding out the crap, so only relevant quality ads get through.

Every time this discussion comes up, I have to admit, I do go a bit nuts because I just cannot see how people don't realize that literally 99% of the internet would cease to exist if some form of ad didn't pay the bills (or a paywall subscription model), just like if they stopped showing ads on your TV, or on the radio. Pandora - ads or subscription, take your pick. Same with Spotify, etc.

You name it, ads either pay the bills or a subscription will... or there will be no more of whatever your favorite internet property or service is. Do people really think employees of sites like this or other sites work for free?? That we don't need to feed our families like every other occupation? Ughh... yeah, like I said, I get a bit fired up on this topic.

0
+ -

Dave, could you explain a bit more how ads are served on HH. What's the difference in between how good sites like yours, and bad sites get/display ads?

How does HH keep from displaying malicious ads?

The ones that drive my clients (and therefore me) bonkers the most are the ones simulating system alerts - you need to update this, or your infected by that. Mostly these are older people who have a hard time distinguishing what to trust.

0
+ -

CD, it's as simple as working with reputable ad networks that don't serve crap and only book ads with reputable companies looking to advertise quality products and services.  In our case we work with two major ad networks (Ziff-Davis and IDG) and also sell directly to major OEMs, to book our inventory.  We have tight control over what we show for ads and make sure they're relevant to you, the reader and are well-screened.

0
+ -

Dave_HH:

CD, it's as simple as working with reputable ad networks that don't serve crap and only book ads with reputable companies looking to advertise quality products and services.  In our case we work with two major ad networks (Ziff-Davis and IDG) and also sell directly to major OEMs, to book our inventory.  We have tight control over what we show for ads and make sure they're relevant to you, the reader and are well-screened.

I've never had a crappy bo bappy ad from this site yet.

 

0
+ -

Thanks for the explanation Dave. I hope that helps people understand better that this site can be trusted.

+3
+ -

I allow ads on the sites that I enjoy the most. This is one of them. They're not as intrusive as other sites ads are either, and none have ever harmed my computer.

I use a really good AV program that stops all of the BS in it's tracks. So ads don't scare me.

Not only do I allow ads here, (and a few other places) but I ~click~ on them (yes I do) to bolster HH a little.

I buy what I want and when I want to, but what the hell is wrong with supporting where we hang out and spend some time?

Many of us have reaped the benefits of this site, I won a bitchin' PC years ago, so what the hell? They support us,.......

Support HH a little! Click some of those ads and see what's up. You may see something that you like.

0
+ -

Thanks for the support, Neil. We do appreciate it.

Let me ask a question of the community on this topic. If you came here and were only shown half an article or only 'certain' content unless you bought an annual subscription, would that be better?

I know of sites in our sector that are doing this now and it's a question we've tossed around. I prefer to keep the existing model where you come and go here as you please (not blocking ads hopefully) and we just keep serving you our best stuff, no subscription sign-up needed.

+1
+ -

Let me ask a question of the community on this topic. If you came here and were only shown half an article or only 'certain' content unless you bought an annual subscription, would that be better?

To answer your question Dave, I have only ever paid for access to an informational site once and that was really out of necessity and only for a short period of time.  Any other payments were combined with a physical subscription (like Make Magazine).  I would prefer HH as it is over a paywall or having clipped content and in all honesty have elaborated on my only gripe in this thread or one other where my usability was affected (that's just compulsive for me since it's my professional focus).

Finding a balance has to be one of the hardest tasks as a popular website owner.  Unfortunately my experience in analytics and ad metrics is sorely lacking and I will not presume to know what is necessary to keep the information coming, the writers paid and families fed.

+2
+ -

Neil; I don't care if I truest the site or not I don't want ads or popups and I don't want to spend a large portion of my time on the internet closing out pointless and annoying windows no matter how much the site needs them. I also NEVER installed AV programs on any of my computers never have never will they cause more problems than more malware and as long as you have good browsing habits, AND block ads, your computer will be fine. 

Dave; I am sorry to say this but then that means 99% of websites SHOULD close down!!!!!!!!!!! Find another way to run the site, find another way to earn revenue, and if you can't do that then go ahead and close the eff down! It is YOUR choice to put your content on the internet for free. I never signed a waiver saying I am willing to visit websites for free in exchange for seeing ads, I would never agree to such a thing. It is JUST like Television!!!! Are you telling me every time what you are watching goes to commercial you make sure you don't switch the channel because those commercials are paying for your show? Are you telling me you never fast forward commercials in shows you have recorded on your DVR? Changing the channel is the same as closing an online ad or using adblock. 

If a website absolutely NEEDS ad revenue to function then they should find a way to make it so people with adblock can't visit their website. They will still go out of business because there are plenty of alternatives out there and I would just find another site that doesn't ban adblock. Sorry but I do not need to help provide you with revenue just as you don't have to provide me with articles. But websites give us free content knowing we can't stop you from showing us ads. Again, I never authorized you or any website to show me ads in exchange for content. 

ADBLOCK FOR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!

0
+ -

Dave; This is my favorite tech site! I also enjoy the style of article at HH than any other site, and I love the commenting community!!!!!!!! However I wouldn't pay a subscription =\\\\. There are just too many alternate sites that are free. It is just like a newspaper I wouldn't sign up to one when the same info is on TV every night for "free" (yes I do flip the channel when commercials come on).

0
+ -

Right sevags you illustrate my point. We have no intention of putting up a paywall. Just don't ad block.

0
+ -

First of all, that was hilarious. :P

I personally use adblock, but I constantly use this site so I use an alternate web browser just on this site without adblock. It's really not that hard. It's sad, but adblock is just to convenient to ignore, with it being free and taking 2 minutes to setup. As with everything great there are consequences. Meaning that eventually sites like this may have to rely on a subscription service. Which honestly, wouldn't be too bad depending on the price.

0
+ -

The problem with pay sites is most the news you get is rehashed from other site that you don't have to pay for already. I use adblocker software, no matter what site it is. To many sites abuse it that its not a option to give sites a chance. Its easier to dismiss ads than hope the site is trustworthy, even if site is trustworthy you can't trust ad providers. You hear often how sites try to use injection stuff without user knowing, or the site knowing.

I donate to certain free software sites, because its a tool I use that benefits me in long term. Most people skim website like they skip magazines in line at grocery store.

Certain sites are forgivable in charging for content. Consumer Reports for example do one thing, and one thing only. The $30 a year is worth it.

Tech sites are the exception, really no business model in them other than the reviews to provide great content consistently. Every tech website is designed the same, no innovation about them, nothing that tells the user "Man i would not might paying for this". Why would someone care about paying for content that is rehashed on EVERY other tech site with rehashed articles?

+1
+ -

"Certain sites are forgivable in charging for content." - Wow. I'm not even going to bother responding to this. There are so many inaccuracies in your views, in my opinion, that I don't know where to begin. Your view basically makes you a worthless consumer. And I guarantee you, if everyone took that view, there would be nothing but a very limited paywall internet.

Whoops, guess I did respond to this after all.

0
+ -

Worthless consumer is what the internet is about though. The internet is not for paying for everything or paying people for everything. Its about getting information about things. Why would people even consider this site when content you provide is at hundreds more? What do you offer that others don't?

This site is not special. You can go a year without ever visiting this site and get the info on others. I visit this site every now and then to look at information about a product linked from other sites. This site is not the main page people visit.

The work that is done is appreciated, but is it worth it to pay for? Not really.

People pay for things that are worthwhile to them on a daily basis not for casual things. People pay for music services because they want to listen to music all over, people pay for amazon Prime because it pays for itself for most people.

You have to provide the content worthwhile for people to form over money.

I AM the consumer, adapt, or die with the other sites.

+2
+ -

...and with that, I will stop feeding the trolls. Interesting that you registered on the site just to comment on this one thread.

0
+ -

I like the reviews here. They go into a lot of detail, and they test everything about each item too. They're not kissing anyone's ass and making a poor product look good. If it stinks, they say so.

It's about the quality of the information presented,.............not that everyone seems to be reviewing the same things simultaneously and you can read it somewhere else.

Those of you who don't think that HH deserves a little help from you by a few ad clicks, don't enter the contests and maybe, just maybe I'll win again! Bwahaha!

0
+ -

How is it trolling when I'm stating what is accurate? Provide content people want that is original, people will pay. A site like this rehashes news from all over the web. What do YOU offer that makes it worth visiting everyday? Got something original? No you do not.

The news is press releases of new products.

The reviews are of products every website gets sent samples of.

Hell, even if the reviews of products you just copy and paste specs of it on first page.

Look, just because you are offended by my views, and I share the same views and lots of people do, you are not wise to dismiss them because you don't understand them.

0
+ -

I can understand a little why someone might want to run an ad-blocker, but the fact of the matter is, quality sites like this one exist solely because of its ad revenue, and the support its readers show those who advertise.

I'd hate to imagine what the Internet would be like if everyone ran an ad-blocker; no one who runs a site like HH would be able to do so as anything other than a hobby, and what that means is that quality goes way down. What it could also result in is paid product reviews, which adds an undeniable bias. After all, how else is a content site supposed to survive if ads are not an option? It's already been well-established that most people are not interested in paying money to access most content - and let's be honest, it's easy to see why. I sure don't want to have monthly subs for a variety of different sites. I'd much prefer support a website I love by taking absolutely no effort on my part to just let the ads load. At the very least, if you run an ad-blocker, show the sites you love some support by whitelisting them.

1 2 Next
Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: