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    I completely agree with this article.

    When people want to show me a video on YouTube, mostly using their smartphones and the official YouTube app, they are often presented with multiple (!) ads, as it has now become the norm. What surprises me is how patiently they wait for the ads to run through, but then I realize that the “normal” consumers not aware of ad blockers and alternative YouTube apps (like NewPipe) don’t have any other choice (read: knowledge) but to sit through these ads. It would make me crazy and probably lead me to actively avoiding YouTube for the most part.

    What this shows is that consuming ads regularly actually wears you down in way. It increases your tolerance for noisy inputs into your brain, which in turn, I believe, leads to shorter and shorter attention spans, which I also notice with these same people.

    Total advertising denial is not only a statement, I think it’s an active measure towards a better quality of life and focus on things that are actually important. The moment we stop selling our attention towards things we don’t need we can start thinking about things that do matter.

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      I find this attitude hopelessly naive. Money will buy publicity one way or another even if you block each and every banner ad. For example, sponsored segments in YouTube videos are already common. Using an adblocker will simply accelerate this development. On Twitch one can buy “unblockable” ads that are baked directly into the video stream.

      Content marketing is another beast – reading a good article on MongoDB’s blog will change your impression of the product and the only remedy to that is not to even glance at it. That’s not strictly advertising though, but still effective.

      Finally, a large chunk of news you read are carefully prepared by PR firms and gladly accepted by editors. It just makes everyone’s job easier, but as a reader you can’t really tell who wrote what. Good luck blocking those.

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        Regarding sponsored segments on YouTube SponsorBlock worked great for me.

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        Advertising as an industry is probably the worst thing the human race has ever allowed to develop. But, that is pretty off-topic.

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          I dunno, I find weapons manufacturing and private armies a few orders of magnitude worse than ads.

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            I reckon state armies could be modelled as private armies subsidised by the taxpayer.

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              Only if you assume the state to be a private company and that doesn’t really work.

              It’s a very unsophisticated take.

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                That’s not required for such a model.

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          You are affected by adverts no matter how much you think you’re not or that you’re avoiding them. Every day we cannot avoid billboards, signs, people giving out free cans of energy drink .. it’s all around us. It does affect us. It’s in our news for god sake.

          Now I do run uBlock Origin and have a rooted phone with DNS ad blocking and do my best to minimize adverts getting to my brain, but I fully acknowledge adverts are still getting in there and there is no way to avoid a lot of them. The author mentions avoiding ads on TV, but your brain still picks up on them, even if only in your peripheral. Oh a road trip, you can try not to pay attention to a billboard, but if it enters your vision enough times, your subconscious mind picks up on it.

          Yes, minimize adverts, but acknowledge even if you’re consciously aware of the ads you’re seeing, they still affect you.

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            Every day we cannot avoid billboards, signs

            You can, but it requires moving to Sao Paulo


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            I have recently been through a quest to consume all my content legally: no torrent, no streaming, no cracking… And I started to wonder if watching YouTube or even reading news with an adblocker could be considered illegal, so I started to surf without it.

            What a eye-opener! The web is full of ads breaking the content in unreadable chunks or even the layout (particularly on mobile) and I quickly identified the websites with minimal/smart/no ads, such as public news website (BBC in UK, RTS for French speaking Switzerland…) which you may already pay for anyway in your taxes. Surprisingly, some social networks are also not to bad such as Twitter. Obviously, subscribing to some services also allows to have an ad-free experience.

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              Ads have been an important source of revenue for the publishing industry since forever; well before the internet. User tracking for ads on the internet is indeed problematic, but simply going “literally every single ad is bad” is not helping solve any problems.

              Either way, the entire article is little more than a “literally every single ad is bad” rant, so I just flagged it as off-topic.

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                I prefer this one: http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2015/10/why-its-ok-to-block-ads/

                What I find remarkable is the way both sides of this debate seem to simply assume the large-scale capture and exploitation of human attention to be ethical and/or inevitable in the first place.

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                  Could you explain further how this is off-topic? It would be on-topic on HN, and I’d presume that it’s on-topic here too.

                  I feel that your argument is depressingly corporatist. “Toxic resource X has been an important source of revenue for the X industry since forever; well before modern mass media. People suffering from exposure to X is indeed problematic, but simply going ‘literally every single application of X is bad’ is not helping solve any problems,” right? This could be applied just as well to:

                  • Unpasteurized fruits and the food preparation industry
                  • Amazon packages and the logistics industry
                  • Conflict minerals and the mining industry
                  • Slavery and the cotton, pineapple, and sugar industries
                  • Tetraethyl lead and the oil industry
                  • Chloroflurocarbons and the aerosol industry

                  Maybe it is unthinkable for you to imagine that all modern advertising and marketing techniques are psychologically damaging, but not everybody agrees with you. Famously, over a decade ago, São Paulo banned billboards and other outdoor advertisements; they did this in part because they believed that it would improve the health of people.

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                    I agree with your points, but the issue with this kind of “hot take” that the author presents is that it’s more of a rant/bragging piece than anything remotely rewarding attention. The author doesn’t like ads. So what? What do I as a reader get out of this post? There are no solutions presented. Only a few talking points being rehashed and a rant about Google at the bottom.

                    I disagree that it’s off-topic, but I don’t find the post to be valuable, so I am leaning towards spam myself.

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                      Author here. I thought the solutions were apparent; using a browser which, in my experience, can actually block ads effectively, and, in rare cases where that fails (e.g. burnt-in sponsorship segments in videos), doing whatever possible to prevent the content of the ad reaching one’s senses (muting, averting eyes, etc.).

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                        Author said their solution was Firefox + Ublock Origin + NoScript. Said they don’t see ads. Also said first two were really good without NoScript.

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                        It would be on-topic on HN, and I’d presume that it’s on-topic here too.

                        There’s a lot of stuff that’s on-topic on HN that’s off-topic here.

                        That said, I see this particular submission as on topic.

                        As to whether advertising is harmful, either to individual’s mental health, or to political entities, it’s extremely debatable. In the very least, lumping everything into “advertising”, instead of focussing on stuff like corporate surveillance and the concentration of media power in companies that rely on advertising revenue, is not constructive.

                        Banning advertising in general would require very thorough reworking of the concepts of free speech, and of commerce. There’s no constituency for it, nor is there, as far as I can see, any ideological theory for it.

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                          I find your comparisons to things like slavery and conflict minerals distasteful and insulting. Sorry, but I have little interest to hold any kind of discourse on these terms.

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                            That’s too bad, then, because those are the examples I picked. I could have picked more nuanced cases, like the breeding of plutonium isotopes in enriched-uranium nuclear power plants, but I decided to go with examples that were unambiguously corporatist and harmful.

                            For what it’s worth, I’m glad that you felt insulted; it helps me understand what is important to you. It sounds like advertising technology is important either to your salary or your mental health. I wonder whether you can muster the empathy to understand that the actions of big businesses around us are not necessarily healthy for us, and in fact might be harmful.

                            On a meta-note, you seem more interested in explaining how to act than how you reason. Your first post told us that you are one of the half-dozen people who added off-topic flags, which isn’t relevant to your point. Your second post told us that you are insulted by my point and are not interested in refinement or improvement of your argument in the face of my point. As long as you are engrossed in emotional responses like this, and more interested in letting us know how to act online than how to prove claims and be convincing, then I agree: You seem to have little interest in discourse.

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                          Ads have been an important source of revenue for the publishing industry since forever;

                          This is very, very true. To this very day, the most effective way to make any kind of money off of digital content creation comes from advertisements. The author talks about the fact that they’ve not seen a YouTube advert in years, and yet all of those years they’ve been consuming the content created by YouTube video makers and hosted by Google without contributing anything back. If it weren’t for advertisements, YouTube and the massive ecosystem of diverse content it hosts wouldn’t exist; the author is depending entirely on the people still viewing those ads to support their selfish consumption.

                          YouTube Premium exists for this exact use case. For $10/month, you can choose to rid YouTube of advertisements completely; that subscription fee is then partially passed on to the content creators you watch. Similar options exist for many different sites. However, for the massive number of small or independent sites or content creators out there operating outside of the umbrella or a large corporation like Google, that’s not really an option.

                          If you create some kind of website that provides entertainment, information, or utility to people, the only real ways to monetize it are:

                          1. Put advertisements/sponsored content on it
                          2. Charge people subscriptions
                          3. Rely on donations
                          4. Harvesting user data which is often used for - you guessed it - targeting advertisements

                          There are a few exceptions to this for things like Google-scale companies providing things like Gmail for free in order to capture market share and funnel users into their ecosystem, but that doesn’t apply to the vast majority of independent or small-scale content creators out there.

                          The scope or utility of a piece of web content has to be way higher to justify charging people to use it; any kind of monthly charge is going to turn away well over 90% of your users, probably closer to 99%. Freemium can be a good fit for some things, but it takes non-trivial overhead to engineer and set up that system, and that’s assuming that people even care enough to do it.

                          When it comes down to it, the advertising industry is really one of the most direct methods of corporate patronage out there. These companies are convinced that they’re being provided incredible amounts of business value from showing their branding or products everywhere, but

                          I think ads are an incredibly inefficient and overall undesirable thing, but they’re absolutely critical to the rich ecosystem of free content that the internet provides today. People have proposed alternatives like browser-integrated cryptocurrency microtransactions (which are dystopian enough in and of themselves from the right perspective, but that’s a different conversation), but the fact is that there really are very few other paths out there to sustainably provide something for free on the internet without advertising.

                          Personally, I think that the advertising economy is going to collapse in the coming ~10-20 years. So many online advertising providers throw metrics at the advertisers that make it look like they’re capturing incredible amounts of value and seeing huge returns on their ad spend, but in reality they’re just paying to take up the search space they’d get for free organically[1]. Companies are going to start to realize that spending millions of dollars to show users ads for the same vacuum cleaner that they bought for two weeks after they bought it isn’t providing them any value at all. I don’t know what this will mean for the world of digital media, but I do know whatever does end up happening will require a fundamental shift in the way that

                          [1] https://thecorrespondent.com/100/the-new-dot-com-bubble-is-here-its-called-online-advertising/13228924500-22d5fd24