Why I hate: Ads

Oliver Oliver • Published one month ago


We're in a weird state of the world where advertisements invade our personal lives every waking minute of the day. TV, Radio, billboards, and of course the Internet, have all been infected with the complete and total lack of respect from advertisers on every front.

The worst offenders are mobile platforms. Somehow we've reached a point where ads are deemed to be an acceptable experience in games, apps, and everything in between. No one bats an eyelid at a 30-second unskippable ad between levels of a mobile game, but you can bet your life that if Microsoft Word (on desktop of course) did the same whenever you wanted to open a different document, people would lose their goddamn minds. That shit wouldn't fly and everyone would instantly ditch it - in favour of LibreOffice or Google Docs - overnight.

I understand the desire to place ads on your creation as I can see why you'd want an easy way to earn passive income. The problem comes from the lack of legislation in place to prevent advertisers from literally spying on your every move. At this point I think we're all too familiar with how evil companies such as Admiral are all too happy to infect your browser with tracking cookies - making it virtually impossible to disable them without manually enumerating every “vendor” and disabling them - while having the undeserved audacity to lie to your fucking face by saying "We care about your privacy".

No you absolutely do not, all you care about is revenue. At least have the basic shred of human decency to admit you're a for-profit company instead of claiming to be the “Visitor Relationship” management company; nothing but bitter lies that leave your visitors distrusting you and everything you do. And that “legitimate interest” option you provide? Yeah, there's no such thing. You can't backtrack when and only when the EU cookie law stops you - it shouldn't have reached the point to require such a law in the first place. The fact it exists is demonstrable proof that you fucked up.

Lenovo took this to the extreme with Superfish, an advertiser company offering blatant malware installed on Lenovo laptops that intercepted secure communications with a literal man-in-the-middle attack, with the sole intention of placing ads on your search results that were supposed to be free from prying eyes. Thankfully Superfish is now defunct - and rightfully so - but unfortunately the same can't be said for Lenovo. Maybe one day…

But I digress. Indeed the moment you place ads on anything you make, be it your game or app or website, you are part of the problem we're in. You are allowing yourself to be complicit in the behaviour of these scumbag companies, run by human-shaped wastes of oxygen, harvesting data and presenting users from having a fluid and worthwhile experience in your creation to begin with. I use ad blockers on every platform I own. I exercise my human right to privacy to the full extent possible, and that means I will not allow a single company to have any information on me in any respect. I recently switched to using AdGuard DNS on mobile, which has successfully blocked about 99% of ads I encounter, making my phone actually enjoyable to use now.

On that note, why do unskippable ads even exist? Isn't the point to encourage users to use your app more, to play your game more, to “increase watch-time”? Why introduce something that literally does the opposite and takes me away from the experience? Do you not want me to enjoy what you made?

If you want to earn an income from your creations, then I advise you to do the normal and acceptable thing of simply charging for it in the first place. I will happily purchase your app, your game, or a membership to your service, if I feel that doing so would improve my quality of life by having access to that thing. I am more than happy to pay for things that deserve my money. But if you offer it completely for free, or even just a free version that offers limited functionality compared to a paid version, then suck it up and accept that you're not going to make money from it.

In my opinion, you have one of three choices to make:

  • Make your app/game paid, and earn an honest income by being proud of what you made and and charging for the time and work you've put into it
  • Make your app/game paid, but offer a free version that is limited in functionality. i.e. a “demo” version which entices users/players to pay for the full thing, but has just enough features so that low-income users/players can still enjoy and appreciate it on some level without having to worry about their bills
  • Make your app/game free, earning no income from it, and fucking deal with it

The moment you decide to make it free, but place ads on it, all you're doing is telling me “I don't have faith in my product, it won't make money on its own, ads are the only way”. And you know what? I guess you're right. If you don't have faith in your creation, why should I? If you'd like to earn money but your product isn't worth the money to begin with, maybe you should stop producing garbage and shit and instead start putting in the effort to make something worth paying for. Something you're proud of. Either that, or admit it isn't worth paying for and publish it free of payment and free of ads. Deal with it, and try again on your next product.

AdGuard doesn't block everything and so if there's ever a situation where a new app/game I install manages to avoid being ad-blocked, I uninstall it immediately. You do not deserve a single penny for being part of the problem and allowing evil companies to operate in this way.

Note

Before you call me out for previously using Disqus as my commenting system, yes I am now aware that Disqus presents users with ads. I never knew this until it was pointed out to me, because my adblock is so effective that I never noticed it on any platform I use. I apologise for being part of the problem myself, but I've now taken the steps to remove myself from the problem.

This is why I ditched it in favour of gisqus - a GitHub Discussions-powered commenting system - which actually suits the site better considering I'm a developer making content for developers, and GitHub is for developers, so it makes sense really.

For what it's worth, I never earned a penny from this. All the ads were for the profit of Disqus itself. At any rate pls forgive me 👉👈 uwu

Please stop placing ads on your products. Let me enjoy the product free from invasion of privacy and free from intrusion and interruption of the experience. You can make something worth paying for, something which can earn money in an honest way. You just need to have faith in your product and in yourself.