How many times a day do you see ads on web pages? How about in software? Advertising is becoming more and more pervasive in our lives and it’s not appealing to most. We have made our peace with ads on web pages, either by accepting our fate, or using whatever ad blocker you so choose.
When we see ads which are prominent, these tend to be on sites where the site provides information to the masses. Examples being news websites, content aggregators, and your top N list sites. When we see more tasteful ads, such as those by The Deck, they tend to be on more “intimate” sites. These sites are usually run by one or two people, and aimed at a particular audience.
The question is, what do you do when you have a popular software project, or web service, that people use multiple times a day? Sure, you can go for placing ads into the users workflow and deal with the disruption, or you can place them off to the side somewhere and hope that people click on them. These methods are in place by Twitter and Facebook respectively. This often works. How often do you really care about seeing those ads to the side on Facebook?
I like to dream that every website out there which has ads, only has those ads because the developer had no choice. I want to believe that developers place these ads in their projects because they need to pay for hosting, or feed their family and they have no other choice. Sometimes this is true. Sometimes it isn’t. The fact remains, that ads are annoying and obtrusive. This completely ignores the face that they track you.
Normally I’m not bothered by ads. As a software developer I understand that sometimes they are the only way to ensure that your project can remain up. I’m not even bothered by them tracking me. If they want to give me ads which I might actually care about, that’s great! Sometimes though, they get in my way. The most prominent example of this in my life currently is Firefox. For almost a year Firefox has placed ads on the new tab page. Why do these bother me when others don’t? Simple. I use Firefox every day for multiple hours. I have sites pinned in the new tab page. When Firefox shows an ad, it places it in the very first slot, pushing my other tabs away. When an ad appears, my muscle memory doesn’t work any longer and I have to think about what I am supposed to click. That, frankly, is absolutely infuriating.
So what’s the solution? Mozilla needs money to keep Firefox going. Their solution was ads. I think a better solution is letting me give them money. Sure, I can donate to Mozilla and help out that way, but I still get the ads. Instead, I want to be able to pay to stop the ads appearing. That way Mozilla gets the money it needs to continue and I get those annoying ads out of my way. It’s extremely simple. So to the developers out there: Let me give you money!