A rantbox by Michiel Scholten

On YouTube, adblocking, the state of our ad-driven internet

Internet 'fundamentalist' Louis Rossmann on YouTube, adblocking and the state of the ad-supported internet that's currently our reality.

There are some good points made about how the internet turned to shit, basically because the race to the bottom we made with for example jumping on Gmail in 2004 with its free 1GB of storage for Free (except that Google reads all your mail for targeting/profiling purposes). People expect things on the net to be free and advertisements are the answer to journalists, videomakers and the like to still make some money. Except that nobody likes them, and that they enable the worst of content to bubble up, because clicks pay and haha look at this funny dog, awww cute cat, hey look, a black button in the YouTube app that starts an endless random stream of shorts; oh what a bleeping human being to act that way... What was I saying?

Ah yes, content we shouldn't maybe even be consuming in the first place (really, there's so much great material to read, watch and enjoy - grab a book for example).

The funny thing with Google and its penny-in-couch quest is that it so interestingly backfiring. Normal people weren't using adblockers; most didn't even know they are a thing. Now a lot of press coverage is generated, in true Streisand effect style, adblockers are in the spotlight and lot of people that were previously unaware of their existence are discovering they are a Thing, and they actually improve the experience in general. For free!

Adblocker-blockers aren't the answer. Nobody wants to see the mostly irrelevant, bad and badly-timed ads in videos and written articles alike, and having them shoved into our faces is not going to help. On the other hand, journalism costs money. Hosting is not free (not for written media and especially true for streaming video platforms), as is the time of people who try to make a living out of putting interesting and good material online for us to enjoy and learn from.

Going back to subscriptions can be an answer. Please make sure not to screw these up by still annoying people with things like advertisements while there already has been paid good money for the subscription. Also, we really do not need those computer-generated listicles, comparison sites with the most minimal effort that purely exist to generate revenue by affiliate links.

I think there's a place for quite a few paid services, as long as they actually facilitate good material (ugh, 'content') and adhere to the above. On the other hand, we need to solve the 1001-subscriptions problem. We have some hard problems to solve, but it's not the first time in human history we had to do just that, and I think working on a more enjoyable net for the Greater Good is feasible.

Or I am just still the naively optimistically utopian-thinking person that I tend to become when that side of me wins some brain time from my regular, more cynically-inclined character.

Oh, the anti-sponsor spot for Intuit Quickbooks is hilarious; what a bad piece of Intuit software. And people trust their money with them... Worth a watch just to oggle and grin at the weird bugs.

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