Sites that I read on a daily basis and I want to support are already in my RSS Reeder of choice. Some of them run weekly RSS sponsorships, some of them don't. I read those sponsorship posts every time I see a new advertiser and more often than not I find a cool new product, company or project to keep an eye on. I like them. They are not intrusive and they are helpful to everybody involved. While I won't read Igloo's millionth sponsorship message, I know that they did their part in keeping the independent author in business and I like them little better for that.
I skip podcast ads for known advertisers, because I already know that Hover is the best place for domain names, Backblaze for backups, Casper for mattresses, Automatic for smart cars, Harry's for shaving stuff, Fracture for my family photos and Warby Parker for fancy glasses. I already like and own most of these products, so I save my time for those that I haven't heard of yet. The only exception are John's toaster-oven reviews.
Browsing today's web is a completely different story, thought. Everybody tries to shove ads down our throats. The bigger and louder they are, the better. They often obscure large parts of the screen (especially on mobile), they play sound and video, they track us from one site to another to another. Some ad networks spread malware from time to time, intentionally or not. They do all of this without our consent, just because we clicked on a t.co link in our Twitter feed. The companies behind these advertising networks create complex and detailed personality profiles, complete with our shopping habbits, vacation plans and birthday present ideas and they then resell these profiles to other parties.
Because of the convinience and ubiquity of RSS readers, I rarely visit my favorite sites via web browser. That leaves me mostly with random websites that I don't regularly visit and that I usually don't care about. To be precise, I care less about their ad revenue than about my privacy. That's why I am running (ad/track)-blocking browser plugins for as long as I can remember and I plan to continue doing just that .
iOS 9 and El Capitan will bring us a native Content Blocker API, which will enable blocking of all this nasty content without giving unlimited access to our browsing sessions to the plugin developers (how crazy is that?). It is also something that will most likely become Safari's killer feature for everybody aware of the current privacy situation on the web. A feature that Google wouldn't want to copy into its own browser.
There are honest ways how to make money online. If you want any money from my visits, you better start looking into them.
On a funny note, the GIF in this article was originally called ads.gif and I spent good 5 minutes trying to troubleshoot why it isn't showing up in the post. ↩︎